The Research Center’s report indicates that in 2017, the number of people living in poverty in Iran increased by 23% to 40%. As of early 2022, 30% of Iran’s population lives below the poverty line, with children in Iran in rural areas particularly hard hit. Iranian families are experiencing the worst living conditions in four decades.

In Tehran, a family of four lives on a monthly income of more than two million tomans or between $592 to $805, defining the poverty line. In 2023, the annual inflation rate reached 44.9%, exacerbating vulnerabilities among households, particularly those in the lowest income deciles. Recently, about nine million Iranian families live below the poverty line, with the majority awaiting aid from the Imam Committee and the Welfare Organization.
Rising Child Labor

Child labor in Iran is on the rise, with 15% of the child population or about 1,350,000 children, engaged in labor activities. The main driver of this growing prevalence is household poverty, which compels children to work and support their families’ financial needs. Despite international and domestic laws prohibiting and criminalizing child labor, monitoring and preventing it remains challenging. This difficulty is particularly pronounced in domestic work, labor in remote and unsupervised areas and sex and drug trafficking.
Educational Challenges

The Borgen Project recently interviewed the Farahani family in rural Tehran, where 11-year-old Atoosa Farahani lives in a one-bedroom home with her younger brother and parents. Atoosa highlighted their challenges, noting, “We have no car and no money for public transport, meaning our school commute takes two hours each way.” This hardship is a result of increasing economic sanctions over the years. Iran is experiencing escalating unemployment, rising inflation and a critically low minimum wage. The country has nearly one million children not attending school due to poverty, with more than half a million dropouts from the 15 to 17-year age group, marking the highest level of school dropout in 15 years.
UNICEF’s Intervention

UNICEF is making efforts to reduce mortality and morbidity among children under 5 years by enhancing immunization services, training service providers, promoting social behavior changes among families and increasing vaccine coverage. The organization collaborates with the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME) to ensure that vaccination services reach all areas of the country and maintain a viable vaccine network, achieving 40% vaccination coverage nationwide.

For more than a decade, UNICEF has supported enhanced antenatal care for women by integrating the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV into its services. In 2023, UNICEF facilitated the provision of test kits and expanded the screening of pregnant women. The organization introduced new strategies to identify HIV-positive pregnant women and refer them for further treatment.
Looking Ahead

Iran’s concerted efforts to combat poverty and enhance digital access promise to empower its most vulnerable populations. As organizations like UNICEF expand critical services and interventions, the path to reducing child labor and improving child health appears more attainable. Moreover, continued investment in education and digital infrastructure could be crucial in reversing the trends of poverty in Iran and ensuring sustainable development across the nation.

Source » borgenmagazine