Mona Foundation was founded in 1999 by a small group of people committed to making life better for all of our children. The Foundation supports grassroots educational initiatives that provide education to all children, increase opportunities for women and girls, and emphasize service to the community. Our goal is to eliminate global poverty and support community led transformation such that no child ever goes to bed hungry, is lost to preventable diseases, or is deprived of gift of education for lack of resources.
We believe that the keys to alleviating poverty are universal education, gender equality, and community building. We also believe that regardless of who they are or what their economic status is, people have the capacity to lead their lives and write their own future. The programs we support have proven records of success, backed by the local community. Since 1999, Mona has awarded more than $8 million to 34 projects in 18 countries, providing access to quality education for more than 150,000 students annually. Three principles guide our work:
All races, religions, and social classes deserve the opportunity to receive a quality education. Mona Foundation finds locally operated programs that educate people of all backgrounds and raise the status of girls and women. We believe that sustainable development is a process of individuals, communities, and institutions building capacity—where local people lead the process of their own development. Educated communities are healthier, more sustainable, and less vulnerable to economic volatility.
“If you educate a woman, you educate the whole family. If you educate a man, you ducate just one person.” – Yogesh Jadhav, Barli Institute
Providing equal educational opportunities to girls and women yields a higher rate of return than any other investment that can be made in the developing world. Equality not only guarantees basic rights, it enables girls and women to chart the course of their own lives in their society. It is also vital to promoting the robust, shared growth needed to end extreme poverty. World Bank data demonstrates that gender equality and economic development are inextricably linked. Studies show that increasing education specifically or girls and women has a direct effect on a nation’s economic development.
“Educating girls is the most powerful and effective way to reduce global poverty.”
All people have the innate capacity to lead themselves and their communities. The individuals most affected are the ones most ready to affect change. Supporting communities in their own self-advocacy promotes empowerment, rather than dependency. Many students we support work with their communities to establish literacy programs, women health centers, parental trainings, cleanliness drives, tree plantations, and many other programs that stimulate harmony and community building in their communities.
“The girls become the beacon of lights for their rural communities, bringing gender equality and sustainable community development practices.” – Tahera Jadhav, Barli Institute
Mona was 17 years old when she was executed in Iran in 1983 for her beliefs as a Baha'i and for teaching children's classes. Mona loved children and had volunteered in an orphanage since the age of thirteen. Her youth and courage and dedication to justice and service inspired us to name the foundation after her.