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Japan NGO to seek U.N. help on rose gardens for African AIDS victims.

NEW YORK, May 22 Kyodo

A Japanese nongovernmental organization making rose gardens in Africa to employ local AIDS victims, will seek cooperation from the United Nations for its operations, the head of the NGO said Saturday.

Tomiko Abe, head of the Tokyo-based Stop AIDS Organization, said she and other members of the NGO will soon meet with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to ask for U.N. help.

''I hope that we will be able to obtain help from the United Nations and that the people of the world will know the importance of helping AIDS victims,'' she said.

According to U.N. officials, Annan, known for his enthusiasm about AIDS-related measures, is apparently positive on the idea of offering the NGO help.

The NGO also plans to describe its activities to representatives of the various countries gathering in September for the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.

The NGO, with cooperation from Sierra Leone's government, built a rose garden in the country's capital of Freetown in November 2003 to provide employment for AIDS victims.

The AIDS victims earn a living selling and exporting the roses. Similar rose gardens in countries such as Morocco and Zambia are planned in the future, according to Abe.

Abe said her concern for AIDS victims was sparked during visits to African countries such as Sierra Leone and Kenya a few years ago. The owner of a health food company, Abe has been involved in activities to help AIDS victims in Africa since 2000, such as sending ambulances.

In July 2003, Abe set up the NGO and hit on the idea of making rose gardens after learning of the difficulties of AIDS victims who have lost their jobs.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:May 24, 2004
Words:285
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