The Vancouver Women’s Group was formed by Irene Mansouri seven years ago to bring women together for a social gathering on the first Thursday of every month. It was created as an opportunity to catch up, have fun, and talk about important social issues. The monthly gatherings involve plenty of fun: a luncheon, music, dancing, and discussion of educational topics that interest the group members, such as women’s health and gender equality. Consisting of about 20 members at its start, the group has grown to 30 regular members who also may bring other friends as guests along for the events.
Ms. Mansouri first shared Mona Foundation’s work with the group in 2012. The group members were immediately inspired, and wanted to help. The women decided they would dedicate a portion of their meeting each week to raising funds and providing scholarships for students at Anís Zunúzi school in Haiti.
Shahin Dehghani serves as the group’s treasurer, which means that each month she brings a gold box to the meeting to pass around for donations while she tells the stories of children at Anís Zunúzi. Mrs. Dehghani informs the women about new improvements, graduations, and any other events that have occurred at the school since they last met. The group members have had a lot of discussions about the importance of education, and that providing a scholarship to a student costs only $500 US dollars. Every month, Mrs. Dehghani asks the women to offer what they can to provide a scholarship for a student in need, and to date, the Vancouver Women’s Group has provided an incredible 33 scholarships to students at Anís Zunúzi! They continue to support more and more students each month due to their dedication to the school.
Earlier this week Mona Foundation sat down to talk with Mrs. Dehghani about her role in the group, and what advice she had for anyone who wished to start a group of their own. She emphasized that by providing refreshments and entertainment, the events were something people truly wanted to attend, citing the fact that out of many of the groups she participates in, the Vancouver Women’s Group consistently has the highest attendance. “We usually finish the meetings at around 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon, but nobody wants to leave. They want to linger and talk,” she said. Mrs. Dehghani also discussed how the events provide a social opportunity for creative women to come together and feel comfortable engaging in discussion and learning about topics from a multitude of viewpoints, all presented in their native language.
We are in awe of the generosity and support from the Vancouver Women’s group, and are proud that the work of Mona Foundation is being recognized and supported by a group which truly demonstrates the values of community, education, and fun altogether. These women are an example of how coming together over mutual interests, seeking to actively work to make a difference in the world, and commitment to doing good can have real world impacts on lives in Haiti.
The work that Vancouver Women’s Group has done in support of Anís Zunúzí school is incredibly inspiring, and we hope that hearing the story of a group of women seeking to change the world has inspired you to make a difference in the life of a child, especially as the holiday season begins. A scholarship costs only $500 USD, and your contribution changes lives. Support a student today.