Helping Youth to Settle Down in Life

Helping Youth to Settle Down in LifeHelping Youth to Settle Down in Life

The Imam Khomeini Relief Committee (IKRC) is executing a project that provides young people from the economically weaker sections the basic needs to marry and start a new life together.

Annually in Iran, thousands of couples who are engaged put their marriage on hold till the girl’s family is able to afford a decent dowry (or jahaziyeh).

The ‘jahaziyeh’ system is deeply entrenched in the society. Typically, it is negotiated by the groom’s family and often included in pre-marital contracts. But to keep up with the traditional custom is becoming difficult given the tough economic conditions, which have reduced the purchasing power of urban families over the past several years.

A dowry is a transfer of parental property at the time of a daughter’s marriage. It is the wealth transferred from the bride’s family to the groom or his family, ostensibly for the bride. An ancient custom, dowries continue to be demanded by families before the nuptials are held.

In present times, a quality set of jahaziyeh can cost a family anywhere between 400 million and one billion rials (about $16,000 to $40,000), in a country where the average monthly wage is $500. The wealthier the families are, the greater the spending; some jahaziyeh lists include around 280 household and personal items and cost over five billion rials.

The IKRC project called “Ayine-Shamdoon” (literally ‘mirror and candleholders’ as it is the first and most important item in every bride’s wedding accessory) aims to elicit public donations to help young couples.

“The project is in cooperation with government authorities, NGOs, and the online social media,” its supervisor Reza Royat told IRNA. “Right now, 73,000 girls who are engaged are in line to receive dowries from the IKRC.”

Within 72 hours after the plan was publicly launched, over 40,000 Instagram users took to promoting it in a self-initiated move.

“The project was received with far more enthusiasm and positivity than we had thought. Users from the northern Golestan and northeastern Khorasan Razavi provinces comprised the majority of people contributing on the website or promoting it,” said executive director Alireza Na’eeni, the Islamic Azad University news agency ANA reported.

   16 Items on Dowry List

Under the scheme, donors can take responsibility to provide one or more items on the dowry list prepared for each bride-to-be.

“A total of 16 essential items including a refrigerator, washing machine, and cooking range are on the list, and all can be local brands,” which are cheaper, Na’eeni told ISNA.

The first phase of the project began in May, and registered brides received their dowries earlier this week. The next phase will come to a close by the end of September.

“One of IKRC’s responsibilities is to empower families to consolidate family structures and encourage matrimony. The current project is a part of that responsibility,” said Mohsen Valiei, director general of IKRC, at the presenting ceremony of the items held Sunday at Tehran’s Milad Tower.

According to the project’ website, so far 4% or 2,000 girls among those who have registered have been provided with 1,523 dowry items by 54,239 patrons and 73,477 more girls still need help to set up their homes.

People can also introduce or refer couples in need to the online portal, Na’eeni said. Besides, they can donate new and unused appliances or furniture.

Philanthropists and contributors can visit the website at to sign up and contribute by September 23.