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Parinaz Asareh, 20, Rah-e Roshd Cooperative, Sharif University of Technology, Iran

“Forming a cooperative is the smartest way to achieve common goals for our community.”

My story

My first official act in a cooperative was when I was in 9th grade. Our school, Raheroshd, was super keen on doing festivals or even having little gatherings for different holidays and specials events and more often than not, these events were fully organized by the students. This was completely voluntary and my friends and I would always volunteer because we loved working on these events and planning them together. At that time the school educated us on cooperatives; the way they worked, the laws about them and more importantly, how to start one. Therefore, with the help of our school we decided to form a student cooperative. Our student cooperative went on to organize and hold various events in the scientific, cultural and religious fields. We were so glad to finally be a part of an official group with a defined structure. The student cooperative gave us the opportunity to organize school events in the most specific and precise way ever.

As I graduated from high school, we could no longer be a part of the student cooperative. However, we were all determined to continue working in this fascinating group as we were more aware of the advantages of cooperatives. Therefore, we decided to become members of the Raheroshd cooperative; a cooperative that had been established long ago for the school staff and student’s parents.

The Raheroshd day care was established in 1986 but soon after that there was a demand by the parents for Raheroshd to include a full education all through to high school for their children. To overcome the difficulties of opening up different schools the Raheroshd teachers (which at that time were all women) decided to form a cooperative. The cooperative was not only to overcome the financial problems, but also to make a space in which the members could interact with each other in the purpose  of taking the best ideas possible and applying them to the teaching system.

At first the goal was to form a cooperative only to overcome the problems that are faced within expansion but as the years went on the goal changed. Now the goal is to embed the cooperative behavior in workplace and even use it as a teaching tactic. Nowadays with the younger generation joining the Raheroshd cooperative every year after graduating, it has been working more successfully towards improving the teaching system and school curriculum.

My experience in the cooperative world has shown me the impact successful teamwork can have on others and I believe that as long as there are people who have the same goal and share the same concerns for themselves and their community, forming a cooperative is the smartest way to achieve said goal. By showing people that two minds work better than one in a literal sense, we can invite more and more people to join the cooperative movement.