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HEART EXPO 2007

An American Idol takes direct action for charity

by Chiho Iuchi

Taking place this weekend in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, International Heart Expo 2007 is a charity event that aims to take “direct action” to support children in developing countries. Volunteers from Japan and abroad will participate.

The expo will host a charity market and a fashion show featuring performances by singer Justin Guarini (runnerup on season one of “American Idol”), contemporary dancer Ayako Kurakake and many more.

Clothes made with silk from Cambodia and Ishikawa Prefecture’s Komatsu City and designed by Japanese fashion designers will be on view. Children from Myanmar, Cambodia and Sri Lanka will model for the show.

“Direct action” is an approach advocated by Japanese Buddhist monk Gayuna Cealo, whose charity work includes the setting up of orphanages in countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia.

Cealo’s charity work aims to directly affect the lives of people in need, giving them food, blankets, medical supplies, clothes and, most importantly, educates them on becoming self-reliant.

The first Heart Expo was held by the nonprofit organization CEALO Global Harmony, Japan, in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture, in 2004. More than $70,000 was raised, which was used to build an orphanage for HIV-infected Cambodian newborns.

The expo’s first day takes place at the Kanazawa-shi Kanko Kaikan on July 7, 1:30 p.m. Tickets are 2,500 yen at the door (1,500 yen for children). The second day’s charity market is at Motenashi Dome, JR Kanazawa Station on July 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All proceeds will go toward CEALO Global Harmony.

For further information, call the expo’s committee at (0761) 67-1088 or visit www.heartexpo.net