In this episode of Women of Iran, we will meet Mina Rameh, a woman who renews the life of his village by reviving its nature and the environment around it.
TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mina Rameh, Environmental Activist: “That area which you see over there is the village of Rameh [Semnan], located between two valleys.
If you take a look at the two sides of the village, you'll notice that there are no plants. It's more like a dry desert.
When the natural habitat around Rameh village were facing a serious problem due to excessive cattle grazing, the women in the village thought about doing something for the grassland and the surroundings of their village.
The women gathered together and decided to do something positive for their rural community.
These areas, which you now see are green and packed with plants, have become so because of the efforts these women put into it over the past decade.
They've planted galbanum so they'd be able to use it in the future. One of the very good steps our group and cooperation has taken is to plant galbanum in the Rameh region.
It’s a strategic and unique plant, which is used for curing many types of cancer. The strongest adhesives for diamonds are also made from this plant. It's also used to produce the scents used in perfumes.
Fortunately, we were able to plant galbanum in a 2,200 hectare area around the village of Rameh for the purpose of protecting our land. We're also very pleased to have this plant in our region.
This was the first project we started in Rameh along with 50 of the women in the village.
After that we were able to resuscitate the beekeeping industry, which dates back to old times in Rameh. We restarted the beekeeping industry because it’s very useful for grassland.
This is the so- called elixir of youth, the royal jelly.
We’ll see, bees consume royal jelly for three days and the queen bee consumes this jelly for 16 days. That’s why the queen bee lives for six years.
It’s extremely useful in curing different diseases. These bees that you see here are all worker bees. The queen bee is most probably somewhere in the middle. Do you know why these bees are calm? It’s because this hive has a queen. The first sign of a queen right colony is the calmness of the bees.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mina Rameh, Environmental Activist: “I’m Mina Rameh, the CEO of the Rural Women’s Cooperation in Rameh. I’ve been working in the beekeeping industry, pasture management and the plantation of medicinal plants.
This part of the comb has been filled with honey.
Can you see it?
It’s filled with honey. This part has nectar. In about a week, this nectar will also turn into honey and this colony will be sealed. I really like women to get into a decent and serious job to be able to have a stable income.
Since last year we've trained about 230 women in the field of beekeeping. I think women can well handle a beekeeping job. Unlike, say, raising livestock and poultry beekeeping is very profitable job.
If one has a bit of experience and scientific knowledge, they can earn an income by keeping bees.
Experience has proved that beekeeping at home can have a significant impact on the social life of a family.
That's why I always tell women to keep at least one beehive in their house. If you look at this closely, you'll see that these have been filled with bee pollen.
Can you all see the bee pollen?
Like I said, Pollen is as essential as meat for us humans. These bees you see here are honeybee workers. You can see that they're smaller than other bees. This part has been filled with pollen and nectar.”
TIME CODE: 05:00_12:00
Conversation [Persian] Rameh & some Employees: “- Hello
- How are you doing? Are you okay? ... Are you fine?
- How are you?
- Are you fine Tina dear? How are you? Our credit union became operational in 2016 with 150 registered members.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mahnoush Mohammadi, Employee in Rameh Rural Women’s Cooperative: “I'm one of the members of the Rural Women's Cooperation. People who come here can open a bank account and receive subsistence or business facilities. These facilities may include any home related jobs for women, including beekeeping and things like that.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mina Rameh, Environmental Activist: “Most of the women, members of the cooperation as well as nonmembers, own a garden or a piece of land in their own village; and they would like to get involved in an activity in that region. We've received these letters of appreciation from the presidential office, the parliament speaker, different organizations and institutions for our achievements.
We've planted 2,500 caper saplings, which are also known as flinders rose, in small pots here.
They will later be relocated to the land that belongs to the cooperation. Come here. See how well this has grown! It's blossomed. This one has blossomed too! How wonderful! Most of the ones in this row have grown. We'll plant this one as well.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Mahdinejad, Teacher: “This plant doesn't easily grow. Even the seeds don’t grow if they fall on the sides. However, with the technology this cooperative has created with the help of another cooperative in Shiraz, they've managed to prepare the seeds for plantation. The women founded it. We only helped them.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mina Rameh, Environmental Activist: “The piece of land our cooperation has been provided with by the Iranian Organization of Agriculture and National Resources is about 11 hectares. We've planted a plant called caper, also known as Capparis Spinoza, in about 4.5 hectares of this land, which has been planted in Iran for the first time.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Asghar Rameh, Farmer and Beekeeper: “This plant is used for many medicinal purposes. Patients with diabetes or asthmatic can use this plant, and in the future, we may be able to plant it in deserts as well. We can generate a source of foreign currency income for the country and totally change the cropping pattern of farmers working in desert regions.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mina Rameh, Environmental Activist: “See how well this bush has grown! Look! In autumn, this plant will start to contract and die. Its leaves will all fall and it reserves water inside. In March, its leaves will once again start growing. This plant is only one or two years old.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Mahdinejad, Teacher: “With her good management here, Mrs. Rameh has been able to change a desert region into a place that generates a foreign currency income, and create jobs for women who had nothing to do at home. This led them to willingly join her and help her out.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mina Rameh, Environmental Activist: “See how beautiful this bush looks! It's grown rather well! It's been two years that our store is running. We work with other cooperatives inside the country under a barter system. No cash is exchanged in this system.
We give them a portion of our produce, which is honey, and they in return give us some of theirs. We profit by selling their products and they profit by selling ours. That's how our product has become known in most cities across the country.”
Conversation [Persian] Between Rameh & Alireza: “Place this over there. Be careful!
Alireza is 23 years old.
Over the past 23 years, he's been my companion at home and it's because of his backing and support that I've been able to work all these years. I'm always grateful to God for giving him to me.
As they say, I think God loved me very much to have given Alireza to me. I've always tried to take very good care of him and have him by my side.
Is it sweet dear?
Is it sweet?
Is the watermelon sweet?
Besides Alireza, I also have a daughter who has a BSc in plant protection. She markets our products in Tehran. In the near future, I hope to persuade my daughter and her husband to return to our village.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mina Rameh, Environmental Activist: “Thank God, my husband, whose into teaching, has always backed me and still does. If it weren't for his support, my husband's support until today, I couldn't be this successful.
The natural habitat around the village was almost the same about 10 or 15 years ago. But if you take a look now, you'll see that it's turned green with the plantations we've done. This has helped protect the village of Rameh.
If there's ever heavy rain or a flood, the village will be safe. If we hadn't done this, the residents of the village could've all left. We always say that we've caused reverse immigration to the village. Nowadays, many are willing to return to the village from the city. I for one feel proud to be standing here and looking at my village. If these plants are safeguarded and preserved, my village will continue to stand strong.”