First of all I would like to start by telling you where Iran is. Iran is a fairly large country in the Middle East with over 70 million people, over 26% of whom are under 14 and are considered children according to the definition of child by the United Nations: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/qanda.htm .
And a large number are between the ages 15-24 that the United Nations defines as “youth”.
So it could be said that Iran is a country of the young and a country such as this should be a fun and happy place to live and raise your children but I’m afraid to say that it’s not always so..
Iran’s population doubled over a 30-year period resulting in the massive number of the youth and children we have today. http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=sp_pop_totl&idim=country:IRN&dl=en&hl=en&q=iran+population . Without the proper management and the lack of programming for the increasing population, we now face many problems when the basic needs of human beings especially children are concerned.
Food, clean water, education and shelter being the most important of these needs.
Let me take you on a walk down a street in Tehran-the capital of Iran- on a hot summer’s day:
Imagine yourself at 7 holding your parents’ hand with one hand and holding a melting ice- cream in the other strolling down a street, window shopping on a weekend, you see another 7 year old child, much smaller for his age, big dark eyes peering out from under a mass of untidy, tangled hair. He is selling flowers, or fortune cards, maybe he even has a parrot on his shoulder to pick out a fortune card for the customer from among the handful that he’s carrying. He is wearing shabby clothes, either much too big or much too small for him. You can’t stop looking at him. He seems hungry, unhappy and he must be too hot in this blazing sun and with no one to look after him, surely he’d be lost, you’re thinking.
You let go of your parent’s hand, go over to the boy and offer him the sandwich and orange juice that your mother has packed in your backpack, just in case you get hungry. He takes them silently, shyly, without a word of “thank you”, he has never been taught to say “thank you” or “please” or “I’m sorry”. It would have seemed odd to you, if the look in his eyes hadn’t shown how grateful he was. He managed to show you his appreciation without even smiling.
This is a story very familiar to many of us living in third world countries and even developed countries. You grow up on the same streets as them, you breathe the same air, you cannot be indifferent. It’s impossible!
I am a 22 year old Iranian girl with thousands of stories similar to this. At the age of 7 I would offer a sandwich, a juice box, an ice cream. At the age of 22, I want to do more. I want to see these children go to school, live their lives to the fullest and each then pursue their personal dreams. I say this, because I believe that it is possible, it’s possible to make the best of what you have, right now I have a blank page and some ideas and this is where I start.