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Handicrafts from Yazd

DV7 is delighted to be able to support The Pourchista Foundation.

The Pourchista Foundation is a registered UK charity founded in 2001, by a few Yazdi Zoroastrians living in the UK.  The initial seed money was donated by a philanthropic Parsee lady who had been upset at seeing the hardship of life for Zoroastrians in Yazd during a visit to Iran.  She wanted to do something to better the chances and quality of life for Yazdi Zoroastrians and after discussions; it was decided to start a skills academy for young women. The thinking behind this was that women often stay at home running the household and controlling domestic budgets, so if there were skills which could earn them some extra income, they could learn and then put them into practice from home.   Examples of such skills include flower making, sewing (tablecloths, hats, mats, drawstring bags, clothes and uniforms), hair and beauty, sweet making, traditional religious items for initiations such as sedreh & koshti, beaded amulets, painting and sculpture, computer use and applications etc.
 
Fortunately, a director was identified in Yazd who shared this vision and she was able to put into effect all the plans that were had dreamt up for the centre.  Originally the premises used in Yazd were rented but after very favourable reports of the excellent work reached more Zoroastrians, donations became more generous.  The money to purchase a half-completed building in the centre of the Zoroastrian quarter of Yazd was donated by a generous benefactor and with the donations these premises were acquired for the courses to be held.  The classes were initially offered free of charge but it became apparent that this was not a good idea as it led to a "take it for granted" mentality with some students' attendance becoming too casual.  After some thought, it was decided to charge a modest fee, which would be reimbursed upon completion of the course.  
 
Apart from offering the chance to learn new and useful skills, the centre offers young Zoroastrian women a safe environment in which they can meet their friends and peers, where they can seek advice from older more experienced women, where they can have refreshments together and where their own cultural and religious traditions are reinforced and valorised. 
 
As a result of the excellent reputation quickly established by the Pourchista Skills Academy, it was decided to try and help another segment of our Zoroastrian community in Yazd, namely the senior citizens who are often left alone once their children migrate either to the capital city of Tehran or abroad.  Once this project was started, a senior member of the community now living in the USA but whose childhood had been spent in Yazd donated a property near the skills academy in Yazd to the Pourchista Foundation.  Again funds were raised to install the necessary amenities and equipment to make the centre a viable Senior Drop-in Day Centre.   Today it offers a large number of senior Yazdi Zoroastrians a safe haven where they are provided with a midday meal, medical checks and examinations, daily physical exercises with appropriate equipments and a full range of cultural activities such as poetry readings (Shahnameh etc), live classical music recitals, and outings to the local pirs.  Volunteer students from the skills academy visit and also occasionally provide entertainment for the seniors.  

DiVineSeVen is offering some of the traditional Yazdi handicrafts created by the students of the Pourchista Skills Academy for purchase. 

100% of all sales go directly to the Foundation.  

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