Needy in Ameirca
These are new arrivals, young people needing scholarships, victims of domestic abuse, families who have lost a loved ones
June 20, 2007
Neda (not her real name), a single mother and a victim of domestic violence, is attending law school in LA. She has exhausted her resources and needs a loan to finish her degree. Ali is a designer whose green card was revoked due to a scam by his lawyer (who is currently in jail). Ali needs to find a job and legal help to handle his case. Pari has moved to Southern California from Chicago, doesn’t know anyone, and needs a job.
What do these three people have in common? They are all Iranians living in America, needing help, and have approached me. I am sure you might have similar stories. Who is helping them? In their desperation, these fine individuals reach out to whoever they can find to ask for help. Many times you hear them calling the LA based Iranian radio station (KIRN670AM) or various Persian TV networks. Needless to say, there are many whose pride (aberou) prevents them from asking for help.
Now don’t get me wrong. As a new immigrant community we are doing really well and pride ourselves on how successful we are. In fact, every month we hear stories of successful Iranians in America. In short, we are all hard working and successful, yet there is a segment, albeit a small one, in our community who need help.
These are new arrivals, young people needing scholarships, victims of domestic abuse, families who have lost a loved ones (bread winner), and those new to the area needing connections to find jobs and housing. Their needs are mostly financial, legal (visa issues), educational (scholarship), shelter (domestic abuse), finding a job, and sometime psychological help. The key point is to accept the fact that such a segment exists and address their needs.
So what can we do? There are many Iranian ‘organizations’ which are formed to do social and cultural activities, which is nice, but I still have to see one such entity that addresses the needy Iranians in America. For obvious reasons, we collect money for poor children in Iran, victims of earthquakes, natural disasters, and other causes related to our home country, yet as the saying goes “Cheraghi ke be Khane Ravast bar Masjed Haram Ast”. Literally translated, this means you should take care of your own home before you give to the mosque (keep your own backyard in order).
I am sure as individuals we have and will help those in need. I think it is time that we address this on a broader level. I have some ideas but would love to hear yours. Send me your suggestions via email to email@example.com. Before we do anything major, we need to answer such questions as: is this a real issue in our community? Are there already entities/organizations that could best address the need? What role can successful (read rich) Iranians play on this? How do we get them interested? How do you propose we convince the skeptics who are suspicious (sometime rightly so) of the abuse of such undertakings?
I hope you find these questions useful as you think about the best ways to address the issue of needy Iranians in U.S. Let’s hope there comes a day when people like Neda, Ali, and Pari approach us for help, we tell them to call a number like 1-800-IAMHELP (Iranian American Help), or some similar resource like that. I am sure that as a community we are capable of helping if we put our efforts into it. Remember these famous words from our beloved poet Sa'adi Shirazi. Comment
Bani Adam azaye yek digarand
Ke dar Afahrinesh ze yek goharand
Cho ozvi be dard avarad ruzgar
Degar ozvha ra namanad Gharar
Children of Adam are members of one body
Who are created from the same origin,
If one member is in pain,
The other members cannot be at peace.