Iran

Schools and houses for Iran

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A primary school built by Caritas Italiana as part of a development project following the Bam earthquake in Iran has recently opened its doors in the village of Abad Chehel Tan.

During an inauguration ceremony for the school at the end of the April, the heads of Caritas in Iran, Laurence Banapour and Christine Vishnesky, were given honorary citizenships to the town of Bam.

Over 25,000 people died and many more were injured when an earthquake hit Bam on 26th December 2003.

"The local authorities said there was an urgent need for health centres and schools following the earthquake so we started to help them rebuild in these areas," says Silvio Tesseri, Middle East and North Africa desk officer for Caritas Italiana.

Caritas initially gave people a hand to pay for medical and hospital costs as well as providing items such as food, clothes, shoes and heaters after the disaster.

It then set up a series of development projects to help the population recover from the earthquake. Apart from helping rebuild schools, Caritas has built houses for vulnerable people such as single mothers and a people who were paralysed in the earthquake.

"One man who'd been paralysed told me we'd allowed him to have hope rather than falling into a life of begging," says Mr Tesseri.

Mr Tesseri says that providing support for development has given a big boost to relations between the local population and Caritas aid workers.

In a speech at the inauguration ceremony, Joseph Farah, President of the Middle East and North Africa region of the Caritas network, emphasised the importance of love between nations and how it can be expressed through global solidarity.

By helping in the post-earthquake development of the area surrounding Bam, Caritas hopes it will help stem the flow of people migrating from the countryside and into the town in search of opportunities.

Caritas works in Iran through Caritas Italiana.

For more information please contact Michelle Hough on +39 06 69879721/+39 334 2344136 or hough@carhough@caritas.vaitas.va