Our Program Our holistic program comprises two and a half years care and education, which is followed by six to twelve months of vocational training or up to four years at university. This unique program is holistic and person centered in that it strives to address the totality of the needs of the girls at the OMID center in Tehran. It is the brainchild of our founder, social psychologist and psychotherapist, Marjaneh Halati. She looked at how other organizations and institutions in countries around the world dealt with issues of abuse, neglect and poverty in young women and expanded those concepts to create a unique environment in which disadvantaged young women can rebuild their lives. A Unique and Carefully Selected Blend of Program Elements As well as an educational program with classes in English, Math, Computing, Sciences, Arts, Music and Drama we also have recreational outdoor activities including mountaineering, martial arts and athletics clubs in place, to help build confidence and team work, as well as improve physical health and wellbeing. We also run regular self-empowerment workshops to improve self-confidence, self-worth rebuild trust and develop self awareness skills. More recently we have started to run a Peer Education and Leadership Program, a yogaHOPE TIMBo program and Parvaneha for our most fragile and vulnerable young women. If you wish to learn more about our Peer Education and Leadership, Parvaneha, Mind and Body programs please read on. In addition to all educational classes like English, Math and I.T, self-empowerment workshops and recreational activities, there are four other important elements of our program, currently in place: Peer Education & Leadership OMID’s ultimate goal is to train its graduates so that our center in Iran is eventually run by OMID graduates. We believe that no one understands the problems that a victim of abuse and neglect has to deal with better than those who have experienced them. With this in mind, we have developed the Leadership and Peer Education Project (LPEP) dedicated to doing just this. Youth leadership programs are of key importance to the next generation in order to become successful adults because such programs provide young people with life changing experiences and a safe place to form positive relationships with adults and peers. The OMID Leadership program (called Simorgh) started as a second phase of our Peer Education program, it’s purpose to not only train and prepare the young women in this program to be facilitators in educational and developmental classes, but also to provide different work experiences within OMID, such as being a part of our outreach program or running OMID’s internal newspaper, Mehrdohkt. The skills needed to take responsibility for personal action and to work with other people in achieving goals are embodied in what we call leadership skills. Simorgh started its mission based on working on the young women’s strengths as well as identifying potential leaders among our young women and then providing them with the right platform to achieve their highest potential. The most essential part of the program is for the young women to learn to teach other young women of a similar age in the wider community. The six-month training program included participating in eight hours of classes weekly, which were defined by three phases. The first phase focused on various leadership skills such as me and my assets, values, zones of regulation, goal setting, time management and problem solving, which manly tried to provide the participant with the right skills to be the future leaders. Second part of the program was dedicated to teach the young women how to define a project and manage it, in this phase they learned vital skills to start and run a project on their own. The third phase of the leadership program worked on giving the adequate knowledge to these young women to train them to become facilitators inside OMID. By the end of this six month period, eight of the participants are selected, based on their performance through the program, for allocated jobs. These successfully selected young women will then continue their training under our mentorship program, where each one of them will have a mentor to help them to succeed in their positions. Parvaneha Our Parvaneha program started in September 2016 with the aim of providing social, psychological and educational support to the young women in our program, who had missed out on early nurturing experiences in life. Parvaneha is the OMID program that was specially devised for young women with extreme traumatic pasts, who need individualized therapeutic support and help with adapting and integrating with others. These are young women who have been so damaged by abuse and neglect that they have difficulty functioning in society. Enrolling in the main program at OMID becomes overwhelming for such fragile young women. Parvaneha provides a gentle transition from their horrific pasts to their future at and beyond OMID. The name, meaning butterflies, was chosen by the young women to reflect their symbolic change from a small, vulnerable caterpillar to a beautiful powerful butterfly. The young women enrolled in Parvaneha, who are usually between 17-21 years old, live and work in a safe and relaxing place with one room for classes and another room serving as a main communal living room. Here even basic life skills are combined with cooperative skills, for example in Parvaneha the residents cook and serve food for each other. They are nurtured to learn empathy, collaboration and teamwork. Two specialist employees work with them on computer and art classes. Again, to protect these fragile lives, Parvaneha classes are run separately from the main program at OMID, the main purpose being to support these girls to gradually join the main educational program at OMID and complete the educational package in order to graduate. Mind and Body We began our collaboration with Boston based yogaHOPE due to a close alignment of their work and their mission with OMID’s mission and vision; also because this program provides the opportunity to not only deliver a program that addresses the impact of trauma on mind and body, but also leads to a training program that enables young women who participate in the program to then be able to lead it themselves, at OMID and in their communities. yogaHOPE’s focus is on the implementation of its Trauma Informed Mind Body (TIMBo) program. TIMBo offers a deliverable, research-based curriculum addressing the ways in which mind-body practices allow for long-term resilience through emotional regulation and a reduction of stress, chronic stress and traumatic stress. TIMBo offers individuals the tools needed to address the social, emotional, and physiological root causes of myriad mental health issues, and enables them to heal and to improve emotional regulation for themselves and their children and families. Additionally, at OMID we believe that exercise plays an important role in emotional health. Through exercise and team activities the young women at OMID learn to trust and depend on each other and they develop decision-making and leadership skills. We began a mountain climbing program in 2015 and have expended this highly successful program. Our young women climbed to Mount Damavand the highest mountain in Iran two years ago. Last winter, OMID Mountaineers spent the night in Pole Khab in the scenic Chalus Road to prepare themselves for a climb to the snowy Kahar peak. This year they set their sights on Alam Kooh, the second highest mountain in Iran at 4,850 meters. In April 2017 Tehran saw history being made again around the I Run Iran International Tehran Marathon. Women were allowed to run for the first time for 39 years, albeit a 10K distance and not officially in the full marathon. 12 young women from OMID were amongst these runners, having had the honor of training with athlete and Free To Run ambassador Mahsa Torabi. They were also joined on the race, by recent Ultra-Marathon runner and OMID fundraiser Zahra Ashrafi. It was an incredible weekend for OMID and international women’s sport, where two incredible role models joined forces with some of the young women of OMID and made a profound, historical and hopefully lasting impact.