Empowering Vulnerable and Marginalized Women Through Transformative Social Protection
Brief summary of presentation of information made
Iman Ali’s Popular Students Relief Society (IAPSRS) is a new association formed by students to assist the women in Iran through a variety of approaches. The NGO has about 2.500 volunteers and its strategy is a conjunction of religious, cultural and social activities.
They have short term services (disasters responses/food assistance) and long-term services (educational, psychological, arts and sports approaches). Some other programs are:
- Economic Empowerment Centers
- Maternal Program
- Public Awareness
- Breadwinners Program
- Women’s assembly
- Advocacy to end Child Marriage
All the items were explained with a variety of details and pictures, but it’s worth highlighting the last one. Iran has the following statistics when it comes to child marriage:
-17% of marriages
-They are legal after the age of 13
-They are legal at any age having parents consent and judge approval
The panelists shared that it’s a challenge to change it, as it is a very well based cultural practice. Besides that, the younger generations are more aware of it and the younger girls are starting to challenge their parents to no marry them off. They shared videos of women saying how they were married off by their parents when they were 12, 13. One of them said that at the age of 19, she already had 5 children. They shared a story of a girl who was 11, married to a 50-year-old man. The case went to court, which found the parents not bot fit to give consent to the marriage therefore the girl is now under protection and her lawyer is trying to get her a divorce.
They also answered questions about financial support (donations and selling products), how hard is to get support from overseas (sanctions) and that their government is not supportive or their initiatives. Although they have some social protections, it does not cover some isolated regions and does not includes refugees from Afghanistan, for example. So, their actions are directed to this public, which is neglected by the official system.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
The Salvation Army has no presence in Iran, but as a matter of awareness, it’s good to see how a country, even with a very rigid political regime, is trying to change cultural practices that are harmful to some groups. Child marriage is outrageous and whatever country is fighting against it should have our support.
Web links for more information
https://sosapoverty.orgTags: SDG10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG1: No Poverty, SDG5: Gender Equality, SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being