Seyed Zia Ghassemi

Seyyed Zia Qasemi

To Flourish On The Wings of Swallows

The Iranian state media names the parts of Palestine that are governed by Palestinians, after the 1995 agreement between Palestine and Israel: the “Self-governing territories”. The Afghan immigrants who later settled in Iran built schools for their children and named them self-governing schools. The juxtaposition to me was a reminder of the suffering that comes with displacement and homelessness. These schools were established for the children who did not have the right to study in Iranian schools. Because their parents could not obtain the residence permit of Iran. I do not know what year it exactly was, but these kinds of schools started to emerge one by one in different cities of Iran. The incentive of these schools was a kind of trade. A trade that was not necessarily harmful:
to sell educational services. Most of these schools were devoid of desirable educational quality. The shortage of space, incompetence of teachers, and lack of facilities were the common problems they all shared. Among all of these schools, there was an exception: Amir-al Momenin Educational Complex. The board of the complex did not have commercial gains as their main objective. Their concerns went beyond the concerns of the self-governing schools. Therefore, they made an effort to attract the best and the most knowledgeable from the immigrant society to collaborate with them. They published children’s magazines, arranged educational and recreational excursions, made libraries, and so on. They did all of this despite the restrictions that they faced in Iran. Other self-governing schools ceased to exist after a while, as they were either incapable of doing the job, or their principals amassed a fortune and reached their goal. Amir-al Momenin Complex, however, is still active till today. They changed the name to Farhang Educational Complex.
Nader Musavi, the head of Farhang Educational Complex, has also founded the Afghanistan Children’s Home. He is one of those who has a heart full of love and a head full of new ideas. On my recent trip to Iran, I had the opportunity to visit the school, in the memory of my old days, when I was their literature teacher. I was astonished to see Nader’s creativity, which was immensely inspiring. With great ingenuity, he makes the best of the limited facilities available to them. The teachers and the students are fond of this creative environment.
That day, I decided to write a note about him as a token of my gratitude to him and his colleagues, for their forbearance in challenges and for keeping this gracious light alive. These days Nader is nominated to receive the distinguished Astrid Lindgren award. This is the right occasion to thank him for his efforts and those of his colleagues throughout all the years. I wish them success.


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