A dual-purpose campaign was launched in Tabriz last year to help disabled people hard-pressed for money. The following is a partial translation of a report on the environmental-charitable program as reported by Sharq daily on February 25:
Six poor people in Tabriz [northwestern Iran] have been given wheelchairs bought as part of an environmental charity massively contributed to by locals.
Sepideh Jalali, a 25-year-old girl, initiated the charitable campaign which called on people to collect crown corks of bottled water and other plastic containers, hand them over to collecting centers and help buy the wheelchairs for those in need.
The plan was set in motion late last year [ended March 21, 2014] and was in full swing in the city by April. Finally it led to the accumulation of a stock of 650,000 corks weighing around one ton.
The charity organizers sold the corks to Tabriz Municipality’s Waste Management Organization and bought wheelchairs for six poor people who were physically challenged.
When the campaign for collecting corks was in high gear intense rivalry grew between people in Tabriz for gathering even more crown corks.
Sepideh Jalali says that the idea of collecting corks first occurred to her last year and that she was joined by her sister and then her classmates in Tabriz University of Art. The idea found its way into social networking sites as well and was welcomed by young people who encouraged their families to come on board. The result was a stack of about one ton of corks in the city.
She said people in Tabriz offered a helping hand both for environmental causes – to keep the environment clean – and for humanitarian causes – to help their fellow Iranians. The two causes were overlapping directly and indirectly. Some people answered a call for action only to help clean up nature and contribute to waste sorting efforts, and others got involved to simply help those in need. The result, however, served both purposes.
The campaign also drew the attention of people from all cities across the province as well as West Azerbaijan and Tehran. Interestingly, whenever non-local university students who were studying in Tabriz came back from their hometowns they brought in large amounts of corks.
The purchase of wheelchairs was not the end of the story. The campaign is still on and Sepideh hopes to promote the worthwhile idea. In addition to bottle caps, she is seeking to collect other disposable items such as waste paper in the future.