Our clients have typically
either been put into care from an early age, run away from
abusive homes, or live in extreme poverty. They often suffer
from severe mental health and emotional difficulties, stemming
from their experiences of neglect, physical and sexual abuse
and exposure to drugs and violence.
Our mission is
to value and nurture the voices, hearts,
& minds of these underprivileged and vulnerable
young women and to help them transform their lives. We believe
that through love and care in the context of sustained relationships
where practical and emotional needs are addressed,
our young clients will
be able to overcome the traumas of the past and will eventually
be able to take responsibility for their emotions and behaviour
In the Media: Check out the CNN segment on The Glass House and girls of Omid
Leila: ‘Sold into prostitution by her parents aged nine, condemned by an Iranian judge to hang at 18, Leila was saved by the intervention of human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr. At the time of the interview Leila is 22, and is under the care of Omid-e-Mehr. When she arrived at Omid-e-Mehr Leila was illiterate and needed to be taught the basics of life. She has now learned to read, is working as a seamstress and is gradually learning to adjust to the society around her. She lives in a small flat with a full-time carer provided by Omid-e-Mehr. Click here to listen to this 30 minute program.
The Story of Leila’ was produced by Julia Rooke for BBC Radio 4, and broadcast numerous times on the Crossing Continents program of BBC Radio 4 and on BBC World Service Radio, between 29 November and 3 December 2007. The program is based on conversations between Leila and Marjaneh Halati, the founder of Omid-e-Mehr, which were recorded by filmmaker Hamid Rahmanian.
The Glass House: Premiered at Sundance FIlm Festival in Jan, 2009. A film by Hamid Rahmanian and Melissa Hibbard about the girls of Omid. Read more about the film.
Mitra: The creative
writing class has put Mitra in touch with the writer in her. Download
her latest story
Nina: Nina has found her voice
through rapping. She writes her own lyrics. Listen
Mehri, Laleh and Monir are typical of the women we help
is 20 She does not remember her father, a heroin
addict and drug dealer who abandoned her and her mother
when she was three. The step-father who replaced him abused
her. Nasrin left home at 14 and was moved from one Behzisti
(local authority) home to another before coming to Omid.
She was extremely angry and destructive when she first came
to Omid but has now changed dramatically. She has finished
high school, is attending university preparatory classes,
and is determined to make a career for herself as a lawyer.
Nasrin has been reunited with her brother and grandmother,
and is now also a regular visitor at her mother’s
17 She has never known her parents and has been in
Behzisti (local authority) care since infancy. Mehri was
an extremely fragile young woman when she arrived at Omid
in 2004. She was depressed, shy, introverted and taking
drugs. For a long time she attended lessons only irregularly,
and spent much of her time sleeping. She felt worthless,
as if she meant nothing to anyone. Today, Mehri has stopped
taking drugs and is rapidly turning into a self-confident
and vibrant young woman. She has now completed her training
and is embarking upon a career as a beautician. She retains
the passion for photography and painting that she developed
Laleh is 22 Her father is a
drug addict and her mother a sex worker. Laleh was born
in prison while her mother was serving a sentence for prostitution.
From the age of 9, Laleh was sold to various men for sex
by her mother. She has given birth to two children who are
now in Behzisti (local authority) care. When she was 15,
Laleh was imprisoned and sentenced to death for having had
incestuous sexual relationships (zenayeh mahram) with two
of her brothers. Only after several years in prison, and
thanks to the perseverance of her lawyer, was the penalty
reduced to 200 lashes. With the help of Omid, Laleh has
now left Behzisti accommodation to live with a carer in
a flat in Tehran, is learning to read and write, and is
training as a seamstress.
Monir is 17 She has two brothers,
one older, one younger. Monir’s mother is a drug addict.
When her parents divorced, Monir was kicked out of the parental
home. She then lived in Behzisti (local authority) accommodation
until she was 16, when she was forced to leave because of
her age. Monir had no means of supporting herself or renting
a room, so ended up staying with her father and her brothers,
who were themselves homeless. They all slept in the shop
where her father works, her father being too poor to give
any help to his daughter or to rent somewhere for his family.
With Omid’s help, the family has now found an affordable
flat. Monir is continuing her training at Omid and, at the
same time, mentoring young children in creative writing
in downtown Tehran.