Philanthropist Bita Daryabari’s Unique Zan Foundation Joins Forces with Palestinian Non-Profit Partners for Sustainable Development

Global philanthropist and humanitarian Bita Daryabari’s Unique Zan Foundation (UZF) ( has announced its partnership with Palestinian non-profit organization Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) ( to support the Women’s DEED (Driven Enterprises for Economic Development) Program. UZF will fund this 3-year Program (2014-2016) with $75,000.00 per year.

The Women’s DEED Program aims to promote commerce, support the exchange of ideas and increase women’s economic development in the Palestinian territories by establishing and operating women-led small businesses within PSD’s various community centers. A total of 30 businesses (10 each year) will be in operation at the offset of the Program. Women’s DEED will address and break down the self-development and sustainable employment barriers women currently face by providing life skills training, as well as business and social enterprise education.

Many societal issues contribute to the untapped potential and underdeveloped skills of Palestinian women, including cultural stereotypes, lack of mobility, low rates of continued education, lack of access to information and an overall limited number of job opportunities. Women’s DEED will help remedy these issues by strengthening and sustaining women’s programs and overall sense of community contribution.

The first two components of the Program consist of 1) initial assessment of Palestinian women’s current opinions and knowledge of economic development, and 2) recruitment and selection of participants and trainers. These components will be completed by Spring 2014.

For the assessment phase, a case study will be conducted targeting 400 women in the southern Hebron area. Through interviews, focus groups and questionnaires, PSD will identify the most appropriate Women’s DEED projects, business types and training topics.

For the recruitment and selection phase of female participants, the Women’s DEED Program will be announced via radio, social media outlets, universities, local municipalities, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations throughout the West Bank. Completed applications will be submitted to PSD. After review, 100 women each year (300 total, over the course of three years) will be chosen to participate in 16 hours of life skills training. Half of these women will then be selected for an additional 30 hours of business and social enterprise training.

A total of four trainers will be recruited by PSD to educate participants: two life skills teachers and two business consultants. Criteria for trainers include a minimum of 5 years' experience in women’s projects and small business development, the ability to develop and implement beneficial training curricula and strong knowledge of interactive learning methods and training methodologies.

About Bita Daryabari

In less than a decade, global philanthropist and humanitarian Bita Daryabari has emerged as one of the most beloved and cherished leaders of the Iranian-American community. From the beginning of her professional life, her work has been accompanied by her avid interest in Arts & Humanities. She created the Bita Daryabari Endowment in Persian Letters at Stanford University, where theAnnual Bita Prize in Literature has become a coveted prize in the realm of Persian Letters. In 2010, she founded Pars Equality Center—the only non-profit of its kind providing social and legal services to Iranian emigrants, refugees and asylum seekers—in the San Francisco Bay area where she is also the executive director. Her charitable Unique Zan Foundation is dedicated to supporting the education of women and children all over Western Asia—from building orphanages for Afghan children to schools in the Middle East. Her Honors include: the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2012); the United Nations Appreciation Award for Outstanding Leadership, Commitment and Support of the UN and Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (2011); PAAIA Philanthropist of the Year Award (2010); and Golden Gate University’s Alumni of the Year Award (2008).

About Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD)

Established in Palestine in 2009, Partners for Sustainable Development is a non-profit organization that aims to achieve sustainable community development by improving and building the capacities and skills of young people and women in the Palestine territories. It focuses on the needs that children, youth and women identify as factors in reaching and sustaining their own economic, social and environmental growth. PSD works with individuals, families and communities to provide tools that empower them to become avid leaders capable of fighting poverty and social problems, building institutions and developing the economy. For more information, please visit


The Burgett Group
Heather Burgett, 310-633-4801

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