Projects

We have a number of current and pending projects through other non-profit organizations and educational institutions. All of these projects contribute to advancing the status and care of women in or from West Asia, as well as promoting understanding of West Asian and Muslim communities. Further, our partners work directly in the communities served in order to identify needs and maximize community involvement and support.

For our latest 2012 Annual Report, click here (pdf)


We also provide small grants to promote both women’s health and Iranian cultural activities in our own Bay Area community.

Current Partners and Funding Recipients:

Moms Against Poverty

Unique Zan is proud to announce it's first project and collaboration with Moms Against Poverty(MAP) this year. We are delighted to have this opportunity to work on a joint project with MAP in educating and empowering young girls at Shaheed Shojaie Orphanage, in south of Tehran, Iran.

Shaheed Shojaie is home to 25 teen girls. This project will provide them with computers and computer trainings and prepare them for a bright future and career in today's world.

MAP's OFAC permit allows them to work with various orphanages in Iran to help provide the children with a safe and nurturing living environment with the proper tools and training that children need to thrive as healthy productive adults.

Shahid Shojaie Orphanage (Home to 20 girls in Tehran):
We have fully renovated Shahid Shojaie Orphanage. The renovation included; the kitchen, bathrooms, construction of a computer room addition and repairing the exterior of the building. In addition, thanks to a grant from Unique Zan Foundation, MAP has purchased computers and is providing computer education to these girls.

For additional information on MAP please visit their site at:

www.momsagainstpoverty.org



Afghanistan-PARSA

Unique Zan Foundation provides support for PARSA's work with the most vulnerable populations in Afghanistan. In 2011, the Foundation will continue its support for PARSA's Chagcharran Children's Center in Afghanistan, which serves 345 orphaned children. PARSA also received support from UZF to launch two Widows Garden business cooperatives for mothers who have been widowed and have no means of support, and for women in the refugee camp on the plain above Chagcharran. www.afghanistan-parsa.org



Turquoise Mountain

Turquoise Mountain is investing in the regeneration of the historic commercial centre of Kabul, providing basic services, saving historic buildings and constructing a new bazaar and galleries for traditional craft businesses. It has established Afghanistan's first Higher Education Institute for Afghan Arts & Architecture gathering some of the greatest Masters in Afghanistan and training students to produce masterpieces in wood, calligraphy and ceramics.

The Institute has been used to develop new Afghan designs, promote Afghan handicrafts through national and international exhibitions and media campaigns, open new markets, restore key parts of the Kabul museum collection, renovate public spaces and build capacity in the government and universities.

Most importantly however, the Foundation uses the resources and skills of the Institue to serve Afghan communities. Its particular focus has been the area of Murad Khane in the old city but it has also worked in a fort in Kart-e-Parwan and invested in the potter's community in the village of Istalif. In each case, the Foundation has delivered services to the community, supported local businesses, trained local students, protected historic areas, attracted visitors and improved living standards.

www.turquoisemountain.org


The Asian University for Women

The Asian University for Women's mission is based on the firm belief that education, especially higher education, is a critical pathway to sustainable development, economic progress, and social and political equity for underprivileged communities. The University will educate promising young women of diverse cultural, religious, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds from across South and South-East Asia and the Middle East, with a particular emphasis on the inclusion of women from poor, rural, and marginalized communities. AUW seeks to cultivate future leaders whose life experiences will combine with an extraordinary education to help them address the imperatives of social and economic advancement in Asia, and will in turn elevate the status of women in society.

Over the next six years, Unique Zan Foundation is committed to supporting five women students from both Pakistan and Afghanistan to complete their studies at the Asian University for women. 

www.asian-university.org.


Promises Film Company

My Summer in Tehran, produced and directed by Justine Shapiro, is due for release in 2010. In this documentary, Ms. Shapiro embarks on a journey to Tehran and into the lives of three Iranian families from diverse religious and social backgrounds: a conservative, religious family; a secular family; and a single mom/actress. This project was partially funded by the Unique Zan Foundation, and is part of a larger project on "Global Moms." To watch excerpts click on the following link: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-jIh5YcIP8


Iranian-American Scholarship Fund

IASF is  a national scholarship fund. With 75 scholarships awarded to date, they are proud to have taken on this task and with the support and help of the community throughout the nation have reached a decade of community service at its best.

www.iasfund.org


Creating Hope International/Afghan Institute of Learning

We are working with Dr. Sakena Yacoobi to help her continue her work in educating and providing health services for women in Afghanistan. We are also working with Dr. Yacoobi to build a private school for girls in Kabul, Afghanistan.

www.creatinghope.org/ailprograms


NLSCA/AGAPE

National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA), is an organization dedicated to ensuring the human rights and dignity of Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (MEMSA) peoples. NLSCA was founded by Banafsheh Akhlaghi, Esq. in order to promote: (1) legal defense of civil rights; (2) responsible media coverage and depiction; (3) proactive collaboration with governmental and non-governmental institutions; and (4) education and community outreach.

www.nlsca.com.

The Translation Project

Founded in 2003, The Translation Project is a nonprofit (501(C)3) organization. Their mission is to promote contemporary Iranian literature to a worldwide audience in multiple languages and media.

www.thetranslationproject.org.


Iranian Scholarship Foundation

Provides scholarship funding for low-income Iranian-American students to continue their studies.

www.iranianscholarship.com.


The HAND Foundation

Through the HAND Foundation we are sponsoring The Bita Daryabari Scholarship for Women in Economics. This scholarship will provide financial support, in the form of tuition, fees and a stipend, to an Iranian woman working toward her Ph.D. in Economics.

www.thehandfoundation.org.


www.wghi.org

Women's Global Health Imperative, University of California, San Francisco The Women's Global Health Imperative's mission is to develop public health interventions that prevent HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unintended pregnancies, and maternal mortality through collaborative research, academic and clinical training, community education, and the study of gender inequity. With Unique Zan Foundation funding, WGHI will be able to sponsor one Iranian woman, who specializes in Women's Health and HIV/AIDS, to come to the UCSF campus for a seminar on Women's Leadership Training.

www.wghi.org.


Baivoter Norouz Project

Baivoter is an Iranian American Voters Association working to encourage and facilitate the informed and active participation of Iranian-Americans in the democratic process. Baivoter also organizes the annual spring Persian New Year (Norouz) Festival in Vasona Park, located in Los Gatos, California, in order to celebrate and promote Persian community and culture.

www.baivoter.org.

www.norouzfestival.org.


The Rostam Project

This project is designed to utilize the medium of the traditional American comic book genre in order to introduce an important Iranian/Persian literary work - The Shahnameh to a western audience. The intention is first, to rekindle the knowledge and serve as a quick and easy to read reminder of how great and valid the Shahnameh lessons are even today to adults. Second, to provide Iranian youth, a character and story presentation that is just as cool and attractive as the best comic book heroes, and finally, to provide non-Iranians with access and introduction to one of the true cultural gems of Iran. This exposure to the positive and fascinating aspects of Persian storytelling, will do much in educating and advancing the understanding of what contributions Persians have made to society at large.

www.theshahnameh.com


Community Breast Health Project

is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing information and support to people dealing with breast cancer or with breast health issues.

www.cbhp.org.


Current Projects:

REPORT FROM CREATING HOPE INTERNATIONAL/AFGHAN INSITUTE OF LEARNING Regarding the Professor Sakena Yacoobi Private High School in Kariz Mir
The Professor Sakena Yacoobi Private High School opened in Kariz Mir, Afghanistan in May 2010. There are presently 226 students attending in grades 1-12.

 The staff includes 14 teachers and 6 in administration. There are also 2 guards for security and a janitor for cleaning.

Fifty seven percent of the student population has supplemental scholarships. There are 109 students with a full scholarship, and 20 with a 50% scholarship. Students come from the surrounding areas and a local orphanage.

 

The building itself has 12 rooms. Final details are nearing completion. The students and teachers have planted a number of trees and bushes and are interested in making the grounds peaceful and plant-friendly.

Murals cover many of the hallway walls and add a cheerful accent. There is also a computer room which offers modern computers and internet access.


Following are additional photos of the school and students.




Unique Zan Foundation/Relief International, Palestinian Women's Institute

Through funding from the Unique Zan Foundation, Relief International - Schools Online (RI-SOL) has established the Unique Zan Women's Center that focuses on providing needed services to women in Dura, Hebron. Through the rehabilitation of a two-story building in the town of Dura,  has transformed this structure into a center specialized to address the needs of women. The Unique Zan Women's Center is built on providing women with access to adequate education, health, and other basic services that are essential for women to maintain their own well-being and to gain the skills needed to place them in full control of their lives and subsequently broader social change. The Zan model has ensured that women are provided with access to informal education and training programs backed by access to resources, healthcare, and awareness raising that will lead to the overall goal of women's economic and social empowerment.





 Three main issues are plaguing the women in Dura and Zan Center is addressing them:

  1. Women need to have greater access to education, whether formal or informal in order to develop the skills needed to transform their lives from isolation to exposure;
  2. Women need access to business skills in order to succeed in the employment market and to have full control over economic and social decisions; and
  3. Women and other community members need to gain awareness of issues such as early marriage and gender equity in order to help tackle social barriers that limit their ability to live a normal life or to access resources.

 

Through the provision of a wide-range of activities, including health awareness, IT trainings, vocational training, educational learning (formal and informal), and sports activities, RI-SOL is working to tackle the three issues outlined above. The holistic education and empowerment approach will not only improve women's access to formal and informal education, but will also cultivate social change at the local community level. Given the hardships faced in Dura, this new Center has provided hope to a population of women, currently facing severe hardships, growing isolation and social polarization. Drawing on RI-SOL's success in establishing other Community Centers across the West Bank, the Unique Zan Women's Center has filled a gap in providing women and community members with much needed access to education and resources. Over the reporting period, the Center has collaborated with local organizations and government bodies to directly benefit women and community members in Hebron.



To see more photos, click here.


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