OMID Foundation was set up in 2004 to help young women in Iran who are victims of sexual, physical or mental abuse. Starting with a small group of 15 women, OMID now caters to more than 200 women at any one time. More than a quarter of them are Afghani immigrants. They work as trauma informed organization and now have a Peer Education and Leadership Program in place.
The young women who come to us have typically been put into care from an early age, run away from abusive homes, and all live in extreme poverty. They often suffer from severe mental health and emotional difficulties, mostly stemming from their experiences of neglect, of physical and sexual abuse, and of exposure to drugs and violence.
OMID works in a society where there is widespread societal acceptance of violence against women in Iran. The legal system gives very few rights to women, most of which are only selectively enforced, leaving women with little protection. The Iranian authorities themselves estimate that there are in excess of 500,000 marginalized young women in Iran who are the victims of abuse, violence and neglect. That makes the work they do, that much more urgent. They help those women who are victims of abuse.
OMID is committed to strengthening the social, emotional and economic opportunities of disadvantaged young women in Iran. They provide them with a sense of self worth and life and opportunities in three key areas: self-empowerment, education and training. They pride themselves on their holistic approach to helping these young women learn to be treated with respect, dignity and kindness. Women leave their program feeling proud, strong and able to live their lives happily and confidentially in today’s society. Now in their second decade, they believe that they have developed one of the most effective programs in the world.
Success Rate and How They Innovate
Their success rate is exceptionally high with over 85% of the young women who enter their program regaining their emotional stability and re-integrating into society. They reintegrate by working in a prominent company in the business community; starting their own business; or by enrolling in a university program. Over 50% of graduates maintain a close contact with the OMID Foundation because in many cases they became the family they never had.
They firmly believe that no one understands the suffering of marginalized young women better, than a young woman who has experienced it herself. This is the main reason why one of their main objectives is gradually to transfer major parts of the management of their organization to their own graduates. 14% of their current staff are already their own graduates and they are planning to increase this to 17% in 2020 and 20% by 2022.
How They Spend Their Money
Of all the monies they raise and donations they receive at OMID, 83% goes toward their programs, 11% towards fundraising activities and 6% towards administration and operations costs.
To find out more about what they do, who they help and their future aims please read on.
How They Work
OMID take the best teachers and psychologists in Tehran to provide therapy and education for over 200 girls at any one time. Their unique holistic approach helps the young girls achieve self-awareness, self-determination and self-sufficiency. They value and nurture the voices, hearts, and minds of these underprivileged and vulnerable young women and help them transform their lives.
Close to 200 young women are enrolled in the three-year OMID program during the day time. After classes they return home. For those who have run away from abusive families or been abandoned, home is the OMID shelter, a local authority home or by themselves. The others live with their families. During their time at OMID, the girls attend educational and vocational training classes and workshops including IT, English language, Graphic Arts, Accounting, Tourism, Creative writing, Gender empowerment, Human and individual rights, Marriage and family, and Financial planning.
Who They Help
Their program helps young women usually from the ages of 15 to 25, who have come to us for help or have been referred to us via authorities such as hospitals, social workers or legal professionals. These young women come from different domestic situations.
What They Do
With a hands-on approach, their multi-discisplinary teams and staff implement a unique holistic program at their center in Tehran. Their management team is supported by more than 80 full and part-time paid employees, most of whom are teachers, social workers, and clinical psychologists.
They focus on a wide range of areas including care, counseling, empowerment, education, and vocational training. They also implement social and recreational activities and life-skills training to facilitate social integration and readjustment. The program culminates either in work placement, further professional training enabling their clients to set up their own businesses, or by them enrolling in a university program. The lives of the young women in their care are truly transformed by their program. Their success rates are shown above.
As they look ahead to the next 10 years they are embarking on a process of revamping their program to become more gender sensitive, youth focused, and trauma informed. Their plans include the following:
-The development and implementation of their intensive training program that will turn OMID into a trauma informed organization is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.
-The main demand for their services is in Tehran, as Tehran still remains the destination of choice for runaways in Iran, because of the anonymity it offers. They therefore do not plan to provide direct services in other cities in Iran but plan to start training in 2018 staff of NGOs in other cities in order for them to provide such services locally.
Where is OMID Foundation