Zoroastrian Community Steps Up to Support Their Own in Iran Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic


April 1, 2020

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Community support for Iran

Article by Mahtab Irani

On March 26, 2020, Yazd Shahid Sadoughi University Of Medical Science, Iran received the second humanitarian package of medical supplies and safety equipment through the support of the Zoroastrians of India. As we write this, the first Actemra Injections generously supplied by Dr. Yusuf Hamied and carefully transported through cold-chain logistics is being used for a nurse in critical care.

In the past 20 days, two containers of medical supplies had been sent while Iran has been facing a major challenge controlling the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, with generous community support, life-saving medicines, masks, surgical coveralls and gloves, and also some ventilators, were sent to Yazd. The transport of supplies was made possible by Mahan Airlines who ran emergency flights at a time that all local and international flights were suspended.

Dr. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran in a videoconference with the governor of Yazd, also praised the Zoroastrians’ philanthropic activities in the fight against the Coronavirus.

Dr. Shernaz Cama has been tirelessly working for the community and creating strong links with Iran especially during this year which celebrates 70 Years Of Diplomatic Relationship between the two nations. We are proud that Dr. Cama managed to reach out and work with the backing of the strength of the global Zarthushti and humanitarian community.

The task of facilitating individuals who wanted to support this worthwhile cause, with the world entering a huge challenge in the form of the rapidly spreading Covid-19 virus was difficult and often heartbreaking. Each day brought bad news and yet each day strengthened the positive responses and resolve of a people who have followed the principles of Good Thoughts, Good Words and most necessarily, Good Deeds to all Creation.

We are firstly grateful to Mr. Homi Gandhi, President, FEZANA USA for his initiatives and coordinating the relief from Zoroastrians who donated generously from abroad.

The generosity of several Zoroastrians around the world ensured this was possible.

  • Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla, Mr. Adar Poonawalla, Serum Institute and the team of Dr. Dhere & Mr. Dureja, Serum Institute, Pune
  • Dr. Yusuf Hamied, Cipla, London, and his team especially Mr. Jaiswal, Cipla India
  • Lord Karan Bilimoria Of London
  • Dr. Ali Chegeni, Ambassador of Iran in India

We must especially thank

  • Mr. Mohammed Hekmat, Iranian Researcher affiliated with Parzor and working at the National Museum Institute, Delhi,for his constant support,his communications with Yazd, as well as his work with the Iranian Embassy officials in Delhi and officials in Iran
  • Mr. Ali Moghari, Embassy of Iran in India
  • Dorab & Shernaz Mistry of Singapore
  • Homa Zartoshty USA of the Zartoshty Brothers Funds &  Malcolm Deboo President, ZTFE, London
  • Gaiv Irani, Vice President and the Trustees of the Iranian Zarthushti Anjuman, Mumbai
  • Shahin Bekhradnia WZO, UK
  • Darayus S Motiwala ,President WZO, UK

We are also deeply grateful to those who immediately rallied around to help : Sanaya Nariman, Darius Khambatta, Shireen Sethna Baria, Anosh Kelawala, Prof Armaity Desai, Dadi Pudumjee, Perin Pudumjee Coyaji, Sarvar Khambatta Chand, Delzine Wankadia, Dinyar Patel, Dorab R Sopariwala, Ervad Jal Birdy, J.N. Amrolia, Jehangir Cama, Kayomarsh P Mehta, Pervin Jehangir, Roshan & Rohinton Rivetna, USA, Shernaz & Farhaan Lala, Yasmin & Jamshed Ghadiali USA, Yezad Kapadia, Kersi Shroff, Anton Zykov, Russia.

Last but not the least, we must recognise the enormous energy and effort put in by :

  • Mr Sepanta Niknam, President, Yazd Zarthushti Anjuman. We as a community must applaud his dedication to his people and the hospital in Yazd
  • Dr Mohammad Reza Mirjalili, President, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences
  • Mr Mohammad Hekmat who has done all the coordinating with Iranian officials
  • Kritika Mudgal for coordinating all contributions, purchases and supply logistics across India with several dealers and pharmaceutical companies
  • Mahtab Irani for her accountancy skills in keeping tallies of donation and expense and support
  • Mr Rajiv Kumar of Lucknow Medical Agencies, Lajpat Nagar for providing the medical supplies and dealing with so many different people across the world