National

Lions Club funds Iraq orphanage

The Lions Club of Saitama Prefecture, which raised money to bring a boy whose eye was injured in the Iraq war to Japan for treatment in December 2004, has used the excess funds to help pay for construction of an orphanage in the southern city of Samawah.

The orphanage, which was completed in July, is the first such facility built in Iraq with money from Japan’s private sector as part of reconstruction efforts, said the district 330-C chapter of Lions Clubs International.

The orphanage, which can accommodate up to 240 children, was built at a cost of about 23.5 million yen, which the club raised from members and charitable activities.

A nongovernmental organization in Samawah manages the facility.

Because club members have been unable to travel to Iraq because of security concerns, Japanese diplomats and Ground Self-Defense Force troops stationed in the area oversaw the construction.

The government also contributed, providing grants for generators, beds and other essentials.