Forough Āzarakhsh'i (Persian: فروغ آذرخشی 1904, in Arak, Iran – 1963 in Mashhad (?), Iran) established the first elementary and secondary schools for girls in the religious city of Mashhad, Iran, of which the former became known as "Forough's School" ("مدرسه فروغ").
Like other pioneers of education for women almost everywhere in the world, Forough Āzarakhsh'i had to deal with the hostility of the traditionalists of the society of her time. Upon establishing "Forough's School", some religious extremists threatened to set fire to this school, which was held at her private home. To counter this threat, she along with her children and members of her extended family protected the school by the force of arms, a measure that was kept in place for two years. The problem was ultimately resolved as a result of Forough's discussions with the religious leaders of Mashhad who at first had considered presence of girls in a school environment as being against religious teachings; having convinced the citizens that studying would not be deleterious to women, the School for Women (مدرسه بانوان) in Mashhad was formally inaugurated.
Among Forough Āzarakhsh'i's other services to community can be mentioned her presidency of the Children Orphanage (پرورشگاه) of Khorasan, of the Association for the Protection of Mothers and Children (بنگاه حمایت از مادران و نوزادان), and of the Charity Commission (بنیاد نیکوکاری). She was also the honorary president of the Red Lion and Sun Society of Iran (جمعیت شیرو خورشید سرخ ایران) in Mashhad.
Notes and references
- Forough (فروغ) is the Persian word for Brightness, Light, and Āzarakhsh (آذرخش) for Flash of Fire, Āzar (آذر) being the word for Fire; the suffix "i" in Āzarakhsh'i (آذرخشی) implies relationship to Āzarakhsh.
- The present contents of this biographical sketch is based on the article "Forough Āzarakhsh'i", in Persian, published on Wednesday 25 July 2007 (3 Mordard 1386) in Emshās'pandān .
- See, for instance, M. C. Bradbrook, "That infidel place": a short history of Girton College, 1869-1969 (Chatto & Windus, London, 1969). ISBN 0-7011-1344-8