Orphaned at the age of 4, Sahel Rosa celebrates her birthday every Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, although she will never know for sure on what date she came into this world. The sole survivor of an Iraqi air raid that leveled her small town in western Iran in 1989, there are no blood relatives left to ask.

Four days after the town was wiped off the map, a volunteer nurse, Flora Jasmine, discovered Sahel buried in the rubble of the home the child had shared with her parents and 10 older siblings and took her to an orphanage. From there, Flora hoped Sahel would be taken in by adoptive parents.

Years later, Sahel appeared on a state TV commercial asking for people to foster orphans of the Iran-Iraq War — an ad that Flora happened to see. Having lost contact, the young woman, by then a psychology master's graduate, began to visit Sahel regularly.