World’s orphans team up to help the tsunami-hit

Agence France Presse

Tokyo, January 7:

Children orphaned in tragedies from diverse corners of the globe came together today to launch a fund-raising campaign for Asian tsunami orphans, saying they understood the trauma of suddenly losing parents.

Fifty-three children aged between 10 and 18 whose parents died in war, attacks, natural disasters or from AIDS are gathering in Japan for 13 days of rallies, meetings and a camp to share experiences. The gathering was originally aimed at commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Kobe earthquake.

The earthquake in Kobe killed more than 6,000 people and devastated the western Japanese port city. But in the wake of the giant waves that left more than 165,000 dead, the participants decided to turn the event into a drive to raise donations for the newly-orphaned children. “We can understand their sadness and difficulties,” said Ammar Nima Farhar, an 18-year-old high school student who lost his father in air strikes in Baghdad in March 2003 shortly after the US-led invasion of Iraq began.