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The Bald and the Beautiful: Marivan’s Superhero

One schoolteacher’s spontaneous compassion has made him an overnight hero in Iran, and created a new way to symbolize support for the chronically ill.

It started 18 months ago when eight-year-old Mahan Rahimi, a second grader from the Kurdish city of Marivan in Western Iran, came down with a mysterious illness which caused him to lose all of his hair. After classmates began teasing the boy for his baldness, he withdrew socially and stopped participating in class. His teacher at Sheikh Shaltoot Elementary, Mohammad Ali Mohammadian, noticed the change and decided to come to the boy’s rescue. 

In a touching act of solidarity, the 45-year-old teacher shaved his own head, inspiring the rest of his pupils to follow suit. Now the bullying has stopped and the story has garnered widespread media attention throughout Iran. Mohammadian has been hailed as a hero and he and Mahan were invited to Teheran to meet with Iran’s minister of education, who has reportedly said that funds are being raised to provide for the boy’s treatment. As for Mahan, he now hopes to one day become a dedicated teacher like his hero Mr. Mohammadian.

For more information: Read the original Guardian article

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Shirin Wertime

Shirin Wertime graduated from the College of William & Mary in the US with a degree in Government and French & Francophone Studies. As a 2010 Boren Critical Languages Scholar she spent one year studying Arabic in Syria and Morocco. Her study of languages and passion for travel have taken her to over 20 countries. Shirin is particularly interested in the Middle East and North Africa given her Iranian-American background and time spent living and studying in the Arab world. She hopes to pursue an internationally focused career in the realm of development and/or sustainability. ​

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