• Kyodo

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A Japanese nonprofit organization is promoting a campaign for Afghan children in refugee camps in Pakistan’s border region to draw pictures.

Human Life Project Japan, based in Iwamizawa, Hokkaido, initially distributed materials at refugee camps and is now promoting artistic expression by children.

The head of the group, dentist Takuo Nishimura, 47, said he started the project after reaching the conclusion that they could do more than just hand out blankets and old clothes.

On his fourth visit to the refugee camps in November, Nishimura gave out crayons and drawing materials, and the children drew a total of 155 pictures.

Many of the pictures are of flowers, birds and cars, but some depict war scenes.

Nishimura said he was glad to see that the children seemed to enjoy themselves, but noticed that some of them — such as those who had lost their parents in attacks during the U.S.-led military campaign against the Taliban regime — did not smile at all.

Since February, the pictures have been exhibited in Japan at places such as elementary schools.

This month, the HLPJ will return to the refugee camps, this time with pictures by Japanese children.

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