Women of Iran
Hello to you all,
A rather belated celebration of a big birthday for our wonderful admin Ray this week meant that our admin team was nearly all in one place in real life and we were able to meet in person the wonderful Denise and Dawn who do so much to support Florence and the school over in Ghana.
We were so struck by what an incredible group we are, existing almost entirely through the wonders of technology, finding ways through social media and email, to form a powerful community making a difference in the world.
Thank you, as always for logging in week after week and keeping this brilliant thing going.
This week’s nomination is for an organisation using technology and digital connections to literally save lives in Iran. They run several incredible apps and initiatives which aim to protect those in Iran - especially women - who are fighting for the personal freedoms we take for granted.
Thanks to long time member Sam for bringing this to our attention and we send our solidarity to the women of Iran.
Carry on being the wonderful humans you are and we are glad to be connected to you all.
Jen, Charlotte, Joe and Ray xx
Dear 500 Reasons,
I would like to nominate https://united4iran.org/en/ for their work to protect human rights and specifically women's rights. Watching what is happening in Iran and the fight by women simply to walk the streets safely and dress as they wish, I am so struck by their bravery. I found this organisation who use technology to help these women as well as others, and as a tool for change.
Two weeks ago, Mahsa Amini, a 22 year old Iranian woman, was arrested in Tehran by the morality police for not wearing her hijab properly. She died two days later in hospital. Whilst the government and police are claiming it was a heart attack, other women arrested with her say she was severely beaten and leaked medical reports suggest she died of a brain haemorrhage and stroke.
Women in Iran are increasingly under threat from the morality police - 90% of their arrests are women.
Her death has sparked two weeks of protests with protesters demanding justice for Amini and an end to Iran's strict rules on women wearing hijab and modest clothing. The Centre for Human Rights in Iran says it has already recorded 36 deaths linked to the protests including some 15-16 year old boys.
United For Iran are an organisation working to use technology to fight for human rights in Iran. They have recently taken over the running of an app called Gershad which allows users to crowdsource information on where the morality and riot police have been seen to help women avoid arrest. The app currently has 10,000 users.
As momentum has gained with the protests since Amini's arrest and death, the Iranian government has been cutting off mobile internet access, access to Whatsapp and Instagram, in an effort to prevent the spread of information and the organisation of more protests. These shutdowns also impact those trying to useGershad.United For Iran are constantly working along with others to create workarounds and ways for people to access the internet and safely message each other. Nahoft is an app which allows people to encrypt their messages before sending them in order to communicate safely.
I'd like to nominate them for a donation from 500 Reasons in solidarity with the women of Iran. Thank you.