Khane-ye Kudak-e Nasser Khosrow
The hours that I have spent in this school were some of the sweetest I have experienced since I left the country many years ago
November 18, 2005
I was in Tehran last August. It was hot, but it did not matter... there is so much to see and so much to feel that you hardly notice your own body temperature!
For many years now I have regretted the fact that you can't see Mount Damavand from the city any more. Pollution is unrelenting. But on this trip I did not waste my time searching for the old Damavand view. I looked for what was there. And I was happy to visit Khane-ye Kudak-e Nasser Khosrow, which was one of the highlights of my trip >>> Photos
Khane-ye Kudak-e Nasser Khosrow is a center run by Society for the Protection of Children's Rights (irsprc.org) and (IranianChildren.org). It provides education and other services for Afghan and Indian immigrant children, and for undocumented Iranian children. The latter group are called bacheha-ye khiyabani who do not have birth certificates (shenasnameh) and cannot enroll in regular schools.
The Nasser Khosrow center is very close to the Tehran Bazar. You have to go through many dry and dirty streets, kucheh khaki, to get there. There are no trees in the school but the atmosphere is so cheerful that you do not miss them. The building is beautiful and the children are happy and uninhibited. One of the interesting things about the school is that it is co-ed. It is probably one of only elementary schools in the country where boys and girls study in the same classroom together.
I visited several classes. In the summer program the children learned different skills and school subjects. The teachers and the principle were most caring and loving people. The school was like an oasis in the hot and dry junub-e Tehran. The kids who are among the most deprived part of Tehran population happen to be among the luckiest ones to be able to register in this establishment.
Two of my students in the U.S., Nasim and Pardis, had planned to spend their summer vacation volunteering at this school. The children asked to learn English. The day I visited they proudly demonstrated their English by reciting for me the American kindergarten song: "Head, shoulders, knees, and toes/Mouth, neck, ear and nose."
The children loved Nasim and Parids who listened to them and gave them freedom to express their ideas. They shared their hopes and fears with these two young women who listened to them attentively and lovingly. I felt out of this world seeing my students become teachers!
I had the good fortune to give lectures to a group of kindergarten and first-grade teachers invited by the Society for the Protection of Children's Rights. I spoke to them about the methods of teaching reading readiness as well as the Baghcheban method of teaching reading and writing.
At the school, using the book "Davidam-o Davidam" I taught the children some sign language. This is a book in Persian sign language that I published a few years ago in Tehran, to bridge the gap between deaf and hearing children. All children love sign language and learn it easily. When I was saying goodbye they used the international sign for "I love you," which I passed on to all the teachers and the dear children who hold the future of our country in their hands.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of work and love that has been bestowed on this center. The black eyes of these children -- our children --were shining with happiness and joy. The hours that I have spent in this school were some of the sweetest I have experienced since I left the country many years ago.
I wish the Anjoman-e Hemaayat Az Hoquq-e Kudak (Society for the Protection of Children's Rights) more success. And I hope that more and more of our young women and men, follow the path of Nasim and Pardis and share their love, knowledge, and time with our children back home in Iran. It is most rewarding, I assure you! >>> Photos