Identified the lack of quality cancer care in the southern region of Iran and took steps to solve the problem. Because of sanctions against Iran I could not start or fund my own charity so I sought out the most successful cancer charity in Iran. I found and contacted NGO MAHAK Charity Organization (based in Tehran) and convinced them to create its first branch in Shiraz, providing accessible, quality, affordable or free care. Also helpful was that MAHAK Charity Organization has an OFAC license approval through the United States government (via ISCC Charity Organization in California) - which allowed me as a dual citizen to work with them.
To achieve this goal. I had to overcome enormous challenges related to language, society, law, women, tradition and US sanctions. MAHAK had said that they would not open a branch and I had to convince them to do so - before I met with them. I strategically searched for resources and staff to promote the vision and goals of the organization. Established strategic partnerships with local charities such as The United Nations High Commission on Refugees in Shiraz (UNHCR), Child Foundation, Shiraz University Chancellors Office, Shiraz Cancer Institute, Nemazi Hospital, Bonyad Omid and Amir Hospital.
With this office, jobs providing above average salaries and full benefits were created - paid by MAHAK. Built a positive, productive work environment with only one staff change in five years. Engaged the local community through volunteer and giving opportunities. Organized special events with Iranian celebrities to entertain the children in hospitals. Negotiated lower costs for patient medicine at local pharmacies. Secured local housing to provide shelter for traveling families, and gathered staples like rice, oil, grains for low-income patient families.
Today hundreds of children and their families are cared for by the Shiraz office, with people who are citizens or refugees traveling from the entire southern region of Iran to seek care for their children with cancer. The local existing cancer charity can now focus on adults without the financial burden of the children. Charitable donations to MAHAK by the Shiraz or southern Iranian communities have brought in much needed revenue for operations and patient costs. The branch is so successful it is considered by MAHAK as the " model branch" and used as a reference to set up other branches across Iran to help save children's lives.
Please note: This was a non-paid position.