BURLINGAME (KPIX 5) – This week’s Jefferson Award winner is a Peninsular woman who helps make a difference in the fight against extreme poverty in the Bay Area and around the world.
Real estate asset manager Delfarib Fanaie is preparing to have her volunteers pack hundreds of Christmas boxes for low-income families.
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Fanaie keeps a promise made in 2006. While she and her husband are adopting their eldest daughter in their native Iran, another 11-year-old girl begs to leave the orphanage with them.
“’I’ll make you a good daughter. Please take me with you. ‘”Fanaie remembers the pleading girl. “I told her that I hate to take her with me, I can’t take her with me.”
“I told her,
I promise you that I will not let you or the children like you forget, ”said Fanaie.
Fanaie kept that promise two years later: She and her friends founded Moms Against Poverty. The Burlingame-based non-profit organization provides education, health and orphan care – as well as basic needs – such as food, water and hygiene products.
Moms Against Poverty has helped more than two million people, mostly poor children, in 16 countries.
The group has built more than 60 schools and supported more than 30 orphanages.
“I feel like we’re a big family and that’s a human family,” said Fanaie.
MAP’s food baskets went to children from Cambodia to more than 27,000 Afghans on the Iranian border who fled the Taliban.
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Dr. Ashkan Taghipour runs a nonprofit in Iran, the Nikgaman Jamshid Charity, which has worked with MAP to build schools and feed thousands.
“She’s one of the greatest child advocates I’ve ever seen,” said Taghipour.
In the Bay Area, Moms Against Poverty works with three dozen school districts, churches, and community groups to help hundreds of thousands of people.
The Castro Valley Unified School District receives boxes of fresh organic food twice a month during the school year to support up to 40 families and 500 families in the summer.
“It’s just a great gift,” said Ms. Nancy Nodal, Parent Community Liaison. “Our students won’t go hungry because they know they don’t have to go to the supermarket and decide whether to buy meat or shampoo.”
Headmaster Parvin Ahmadi said Fanaie is even providing free refrigerators for the district to store the groceries.
“It is a matter close to her heart,” said Ahmadi of Fanaie. “She cares so much about people, all people, especially people who are underserved and marginalized.”
MAP is funded by grants, companies and individuals.
Fanaie co-founded another nonprofit called Shop at MAP.
Artists from all over the world, mostly women, sell their jewelry and their art. The proceeds will help them feed their families and finance Moms Against Poverty.
Fanaie said, “We bring hope and hope is all we have in the world right now.”
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For millions of people around the world through Moms Against Poverty, the Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Delfarib Fanaie this week.