What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an immune disease in which about 1% of the population can't eat gluten because it will damage their small intestine. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, which comprise the ingredients of regular bread and thus are a basic component of the average Iranian person’s diet. If you have celiac disease and eat foods with gluten, your immune system responds by damaging the small intestine, potentially leading to the development of cancer. The economic burden of purchasing gluten-free products is severe, particularly for low-income families living in Iran. Research shows that gluten-free products are at least 242% more expensive than regular products.

What is the solution?

Maintaining a strict gluten-free diet is a lifelong necessity for people with celiac disease. This prevents both disease symptoms and complications. Unfortunately, gluten-free products are hard to come by and are extremely expensive in Iran due to the production, transportation, and import costs. Furthermore, gluten-free bread is not currently produced in southern Iran, meaning that celiac disease patients are denied cost-efficient access to fresh, gluten-free bread.

What is the project?

The Mabnafar Company is a not-for-profit endowment developed by the Shohadaye Karbala Charity (registered in Iran in 1973; registration No. 298) with the aim of becoming the first producer of gluten-free products in the Fars province of southern Iran. Through the help of donations and loans, they have been able to prepare and equip a factory to produce gluten-free bread near Shiraz, Iran.
They hope to start our production line soon but the raw materials and production costs for gluten-free products are quite expensive. Currently, they require further donations to pay back our loans, purchase the raw materials, subsidize the price, and sponsor patients with celiac disease.

The charity already has 268 registered poor documented celiac disease patients who they help with buying gluten-free bread but are looking to increase the efficacy and quality by producing locally. The patients are referred by gastroenterologists with positive anti-TTG. They currently have another 700 documented celiac disease patients who are awaiting registration pending sponsorship but are limited on funds. The subsidized gluten-free bread will be made available to the registered patients based on their information system.

They support both Iranians and Afghans, with Afghans being supported more due to not having health insurance.