Last December, news of a charitable cause went viral in international news outlets, as random “walls of kindness” turned up in different cities across Iran.
The movement picked up quite fast with people making donations for the homeless during the cold winter season by hanging clothes on walls. News outlets said the initiative likely arose from one man’s goodwill act in a neighborhood in the northwestern holy city of Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province.
The initiative soon spread to other major cities including Isfahan, Kerman, Tabriz and Bandar Abbas. In Tehran, it started in the downtown neighborhoods and later caught on in several other localities.
The initiative continues to encourage other similar acts of kindness across the country and the walls of kindness are now helping provide food to the hungry.
Mohammad Amin Dabaghi Sadr, a 31 year-old IT engineer from Isfahan, has recently launched a project in the capital to offer a type of traditional bread or ‘nan’ from his hometown to the needy on a daily basis.
“This bread is ethnic to Isfahan, and has three particular nutritional values. First, it uses whole wheat, contains no baking soda, and the dough is left to go through a complete fermentation process of 1.5 hours, as opposed to the 15 minutes other breads undergo,” he said, the Persian language daily ‘Haft-e Sobh” reported.
The way the initiative works is simple. People can buy as many magnet tokens as they want for $3 each and put them on the ‘magnet board’ outside the bakery. Any needy person can pick up one token and exchange it for a free ‘nan.’
“Every morning, we start the day by leaving five tokens on the board if there’s none left from the previous day; however, the idea has been so well-received that we often run out of tokens.”
Currently, 30 tokens are bought on average every day, but Dabaghi Sadr believes the number will “surpass 100 per day soon if the current trend continues.”
Food for Thought
Another benevolent project in the southwest Fars Province caters to people in need of “food for the soul.”
Gholamhossein Emami, a cultural activist in the provincial capital Shiraz, has launched a project that acts chiefly as a platform for exchanging cultural products.
Popular public figures have been spotted at times among those who leave books and those who pick them up, an idea to promote a culture of book-reading.
A similar wall has been set up in Chardavol County in the western Ilam Province.
It is just over two months that a falafel shop in Tehran’s Shahid Mahalati neighborhood has started a movement in which people can purchase food coupons and leave them on the wall for those in need.
The move was initiated by business owner Mohammad Reza Shakibmeher, Afkar News reported.
“At times there were needy people asking us for food, so we thought of the idea for those interested to contribute to acts of kindness according to their affordability,” said Mohammad Ali Fallah, one of the eatery’s staff.
“At the end of the day, we prepare as many falafel sandwiches as the coupons left on the wall, and distribute them among people whom we think could do with a free meal,” says a fellow contributor Mohammad Ali Danesh.
“We believe the money given as charity has to be spent on acts of kindness the same day.”