"Today, more than any other times in our history, the great Iran needs jobs and entrepreneurship to soar as a winged eagle above the development, prosperity and dignity sky."
Ayatollah Khamenei, The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
This wise saying of the Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran shows how important and necessary is entrepreneurship, as an actuator arm, for realizing the resistive economy policies. Accordingly, in this sensitive era and in the year of the "Resistive Economy, Action and Implementation" paying attention to the general policies of the resistive economy seems vital. Providing the proper conditions and activating all necessary facilities, financial resources and human and scientific capitals to reach an entrepreneurial development as well as maximizing people’s participation in the economic activities are amongst the most important aspects of this policy. Aiming at facilitating and encouraging collective contributions and emphasizing the necessity of enhancing incomes and participation of low and mid income classes, this policy can pave the way to achieve one of the most important general policies of the resistive economy.
Fortunately, many organizations and entities in the country have started their activities based on the resistive economy and they have reached some positive and useful achievements, so far. The Barakat Foundation is one of the hard-working Iranian entities which have always considered self-sufficiency of the deprived areas' residents and also those Iranians who had not any chance to materialize their gifts as a first priority.
The Barakat Foundation was established in response to the Leader’s order to Setade Ejraiye Farmane Emam’s (The Executive Headquarters of Imam Khomeini's Directives) chairman, Dr. Mokhber: "I am thinking about solving problems of the deprived people. For example, I expect you to solve problems of one thousand villages; how would be valuable if you could build up one thousand points in the country or to construct one thousand schools across the country. Prepare Setad for this purposes.” Accordingly, Barakat Foundation was founded on Dec. 11, 2007 by the Setad with the aim of working as a foundation to follow economic and social empowerment activities and to perform public works across the deprived and underdeveloped areas of the country.
Financed by the Setad, Barakat Foundation, through it’s over eight consecutive years of activity, has achieved valuable achievements in different areas. Aiming at developing and empowering economic and entrepreneurial sections in the deprived areas, the Barakat Foundation started to work; hence, its founders, since beginning, have always sought for a proper and unique strategy for this foundation. For this purpose and after studying more than 80 similar economic models across various parts of the world, its work model, a unique one in the whole world, was compiled.
Today, Barakat Foundation is active in a wide range of fields and serves the deprived and underdeveloped parts of the country. Some, but not all, of its activities are designing economic empowerment and entrepreneurship programs, increasing educational spaces through constructing Barakat schools, conducting infrastructural affairs, constructing cultural and religious centers, improving insurance and supportive services, developing pharmaceutical strategic products emphasizing modern technologies, constructing hospitals and providing people, especially the deprived classes, with better access to healthcare services.
Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship, First Priority of the Barakat Foundation
The eight-year performance of Barakat Foundation indicates that its most significant concern has always been eradicating the roots of depravity across various parts of the Muslim Iran, which in turn entails defining economic empowerment and entrepreneurship as the first priority for this foundation. This priority will never be realized but through following policies and priorities of the resistive economy. The main strategic policy of Barakat Foundation, i.e. implementing its economic projects in the country’s deprived areas, has always kept away from direct governing, and has always tried to implement and use capacities of the non-governmental, charity organizational, entrepreneurial real and legal entities and to transfer responsibilities and management of projects to the local entrepreneurs. The Barakat Foundation’s contribution, indeed, is made only to pave the way for meeting economic empowerment and independence of private minor capitals across the deprived areas.
In such projects, Barakat Foundation and local entrepreneurs
contribute in the new projects as much as 49% and 51%, respectively. Such
contribution model is followed in implementing small and medium size projects
using minor financial models. In other words, entrepreneurs of the deprived
areas who have a well-organized project can enjoy the Barakat Foundation services,
as a powerful partner. Generation of local job opportunities and preventing
immigration of local workforce from the deprived and underdeveloped areas are
amongst some, but not all, advantages of this contribution model of the Barakat
Barakat Foundation contribution through a temporary and non-governing process provides the local entrepreneurs and investors with a unique opportunity and launching such economic enterprises based on Islamic economic and financial principles (legal and civil contributions) makes the economy more popular.
Many production units, within past years, have experienced many problems in their production activities and even some of them had been forced to close because of exchange rate volatility and jumps, lack of working capital and exacerbation of economic downturn; so, it is normal that under this condition, the private sector investors are reluctant to contribute in economic activities in the deprived areas. Given this big shortage in the deprived areas, the Barakat Foundation supportive aids to investors, who have suffered from problems caused by the economic fluctuations, will be very valuable and effective. The ultimate goal of the Barakat Foundation by working with the production units and making investments in production projects is generating new jobs, which in turn supports local workforce, establishes the population, prevents immigration and converts potential gifts into actual capabilities.
Ayatollah Khamenei, Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran, says, "Entrepreneurship is a sort of prayers and has a vital importance in the economic development.” Hence, since its establishment, the Barakat Foundation has paid a special attention to this fact and has defined it as a sublime goal for its staff. Fortunately, Barakat Foundation has shown a successful performance in this regard, as 310 projects in 31 provinces of Iran have been completed and a total of 160 projects have been transferred to the entrepreneur partners, so far. The total capital spent to launch such projects amounts to more than 2,786,000,000 Dollars which was followed by generating jobs for more than 164000 people (39000 direct and 156000 indirect jobs).
Activities of Barakat Foundation in economic empowerment
field were resulted in stabilizing the population and implementing sustainable
economic activities in the deprived area. The need to empowerment in the
deprived areas became evident more than before when the Foundation started its
activities, as both size and diversity of the Foundation’s services including
economic empowerment, development of infrastructural affairs and constructing
schools have increased from 239,000,000 Dollars in its foundation date to more
than 55 services with more than 3,803,000,000 Dollars credit in deprived and
underdeveloped areas in 31 provinces of the country.
Some, but not all, activities performed by Barakat Foundation are: infrastructural, educational and cultural activities, e.g. constructing roads, bridges, water and electricity supplying, constructing ICT and telecommunication centers, building health centers, police stations, constructing houses for low-income classes, constructing and completing hospitals, implementing watershed management projects and orchard infrastructures, constructing schools, mosques, seminary schools, Quran Houses and science houses. Accordingly, the Barakat Foundation has completed 24,850 projects, valued more than 544,500,000 Dollars so far.
Constructing 1100 Barakat Schools across the Deprived Areas
Undoubtedly, constructing schools is one of the most fundamental and sustainable works made by the Barakat Foundation which is done in response to intentions of Ayatollah Khamenei, on constructing 1000 schools at villages and deprived parts of the country. For this purpose, Barakat Foundation works with Ministry of Education and Organization for Renovating, Developing and Equipping Schools in order to provide proper and standard spaces for students of such areas. Accordingly, the Barakat Foundation constructs schools based on the need issued by the Provincial General Departments of the Education Ministry and deprived and underdeveloped areas are the first priority.
In this regard, the Foundation has concluded a contract with Organization for Renovating, Developing and Equipping Schools for constructing 1100 schools with the capacity of 5850 classrooms for 116250 students, with a credit more than 222,700,000 Dollars;out which 800 schools including 4400 classrooms have been opened and utilized and 1550 deprived villages have been covered by this project.
Aiming at serving the low-income classes of the society and conducting its social duties, the socioeconomic Barakat Foundation emphasizes the infrastructural and constructional activities across the deprived parts of the country. For this purpose, a total of 1279 infrastructural projects with a credit more than 152,000,000 Dollars have been completed so far in the deprived areas of 31 provinces of Iran. These projects mainly include water and electricity supplying, constructing bridges, roads, rural ICT centers, police stations, oil and gas stations, watershed management, etc.
Constructing houses for low-income classes
Safe and standard housing is one of the most urgent needs of Iranians who live in the deprived parts of the country. In this regard, the Barakat is working on constructing 21,500 housing units for the low-income classes, especially in the villages which had been destructed during the Iran-Iraq War, by investing more than 39,600,000 Dollars; out of which more than 6500 housing units have been finished or ready to be utilized. Likewise constructing 1983 new housing units in the deprived regions of Hormozgan and Kermanshah Provinces, besides previous in-hand units, has been predicted to be built in 2016.
Dealing with the cultural affairs has always been amongst the first priorities of Islamic Republic of Iran system; so reaching such goals is impossible without constructing and providing cultural and religious places and infrastructures. Barakat Foundation has started its cultural activities since establishment and has extended its activities within past years; as 830 contracts for constructing cultural and religious centers including mosques, Husseinias, science houses, seminary schools and Quran houses, with more than 41,089,000 Dollars, at the deprived parts of other country have been concluded; out of which 605 units have been operationalized or ready to be opened and it demonstrated very successful performance of the Foundation in this field, as well.
Contracts for constructing 600 mosques, 30 Husseinias, with a
credit more than 26,237,000 Dollars, at the deprived regions where there is no
mosque have been concluded; out of which 450 units have been operationalized or
ready to be opened so far.
In another part of its cultural activities, the Barakat Foundation has concluded the contract of constructing 170 clerics houses, through investing more than 2,475,000 Dollars; out of which 130 units have been completed or ready be opened, so far. Likewise, contract of construction of 30 seminary schools, through investing 12,376,000 Dollars, has been concluded as well; out of which 25 units have been completed or ready to be opened, so far.
E-health, insurance, financial and supportive services
As mentioned already in this document, Barakat Foundation started to serve Iranian people through providing three types of services; after a while in response to other necessities and requirements, some other various services such as e-health, supporting orphans, providing the in need people with interest-free loans, Barakat Insurance for people who has no insurance coverage, offering IVF and treating low-income infertile couples, supporting incurable patients and the needy living in the deprived parts of the country were added to this list.
E-health services are considered as modern services which have been very effective in enhancing health level of Iranians who live in the deprived parts of the country and have been associated with mental security and safety for patients of these areas. Relying on such services, patients can be in touch with their doctors using the communication systems and in any condition. Electronic health examinations are provided through 20 services and cover the following items: basic examination through intelligent beds in impassable areas, performing 20 routine medical tests such as blood sugar test, blood fat test, thyroid tests, liver enzymes test, blood tests and ECG, developing a connection between patients and medical centers, establishing a system to control vital signs in ambulances and proposing consultation services from diagnosis to issuing prescription through making connection with the call center of Barakat Medical Services center, etc.
In this regard, electronic health services are offered by
Barakat Tel Company, an affiliated company of Barakat Foundation, in five
deprived counties of Iran, Paveh, Zehak, Kaleibar, Osko and Lendeh and as a
result of such services a total of 350,000 Iranian are covered by the mentioned
Barakat Foundation also renders extensive services in insurance, financial and supportive services especially to orphans and the needy including incurable patients. It also has issued more than 255,000 insurance policies (including complementary health insurance, fire insurance, individual accident insurance, etc.) to cover 78,000 people from 460 deprived villages in the country; the capital invested for this project was more than 5,940,000 Dollars.
Paying 173,267,000 Dollars of interest-free loans for marriage, treatment, education, housing and individual employment to 55000 low-income people through affiliated banks of Barakat Foundation, covering and supporting 20,000 orphans through a capital over 4,950,000 Dollars, providing low-income couples in the deprived areas with 1565 dowry sets in 2015 with a credit more than 2,970,000 Dollars and paying 12,871,000 Dollars grants to supply medical costs of 45000 incurable low-income patients in 2015 are other measurements carried out by Barakat Foundation.
Providing infertile couples of the deprived areas with medical services
Implementing "Family Barakat” Project is one of successful
activities of Barakat Foundation in medical and health area which has been
devised in order to cover treatment costs of low-income infertile couples of the
deprived areas. Thanks to this project, more than couples living in the
deprived areas of the country are covered through a 2-year medical plan.
Initially a joint work group with the Ministry of Health, Medical Education was
developed. This work group was tasked with identifying and introducing the
infertile couples to the certain medical centers. 5900 couples have been
identified and out which 2500 couples have started their treatment program.
It is worthy to explain that the first newborns of "Family Barakat” project, which was conducted in response to orders issued by Ayatollah Khamenei on strengthening households and covering medical costs of treating infertile couples in the deprived parts of the country, were born in Sobhanieh Village, Susangerd, Khoszestan Province, Karghand, Ghaien, Southern Khorasan Province, on early 2016.
Completing and constructing 11 hospitals in the deprived areas of Iran
Hospitals are one of the most fundamental infrastructures of
the health sector and most deprived areas of the country have always suffered
from lack sufficient hospitals. Accordingly and with the aim of improving
health and treatment level and also based on demands and contribution of Health
and Medical Education Ministry, the Barakat Foundation has started to construct
or compete 11 hospitals with a total of 1200 beds in deprived cities of ten
provinces of Iran. More than 54,455,000 Dollars have been allocated for this
project which was started in 2015. In the same direction, construction and
development of 35 health centers in order to cover more than 52 villages
through allocating 34,653,000 Dollars are followed by the Barakat Foundation.
Knowledge-based and environmental services
Another special measurement of the Setad is opening Barakat knowledge-based institute. Relying on management and policy system of Barakat Foundation (minimum workforce, maximum contribution of people, preventing governance, starting risky investments, taking advantage of the national capacities and young, elite and specialized manpower), this institute was opened during last ten-day dawn ceremonies.
Improving the environment is another new project of the Setad
which will be associated with positive and useful environmental, social and
cultural outcomes. "Barakat Afforestation Project” with the aim of developing 1000
hectares forest through planting 295,000 trees across marginal regions of
Tehran in last year is one of these measurements. The Setad has invested more
than 5,445,000 Dollars to plant such saplings, so far.
A succinct look at Barakat Foundation performance within its 9-year lifelong makes it clear that economic empowerment and entrepreneurship play a unique and key role in reaching the sustainable development. Undoubtedly, the wise viewpoint of Ayatollah Khamenei on recommendation of establishing such foundation will pave the way to reach empowerment and job generation in the deprived areas and minimizing the poverty; and reaching this aim will not be possible through cash but by strengthening the production.
Continuing the Barakat Foundation activities can convert residents of the deprived areas from consumers to producers and it can play an effective role in realization of the resistive economy’s policy and also can be followed as a good role model by other organizations.