- (2020 Grant recipients of Pulitzer Center)
The Behkoush Center is one of Iran’s most celebrated educational centers for people with mental disabilities. Boys aged ten years and older, diagnosed with any type of psychological and physical disability, are accepted here. In an effort to improve their lives, the center instructs the boys in a variety of fields, from basic lessons on shapes and currency recognition, to professional studies in mathematics, carpet weaving, woodworking, musical instruments, and theatrical acting. They are then introduced to the job market so that they may find an available career. The majority of instructors and assistants at the Behkoush facility are temporary and contract workers whose livelihoods are dependent on working there. Although three trainees have passed away from COVID-19, the Behkoush center has resumed operations at less than ten percent capacity to provide services to the ones who are in immediate need.
People with mental disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable groups in the fight against the coronavirus. In this center, the employees are trying hard to keep everyone safe by providing personal protective equipment to all the attendees. Despite taking all the necessary precautions, a child at the Behkoush Center recently became infected and died; this has resulted in some of the classes now being held online.