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2018.04.17 Picture Book of Hiroshima’s Trees to go to War-Torn Afghanistan
According to a 3/22/2018 Yomiuri Online article, a United Nations (UN) member of staff from Afghanistan who is working in Hiroshima is making a picture book based on Hiroshima’s A-bombed trees, with the support of a local non-profit organization. By telling the story of the trees that did not succumb to the nuclear bomb, the staff member wants to give hope to children living in Afghanistan, which has been devastated by years of bloody conflict. The book is expected to be published in Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Shamsul Hadi Shams of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Hiroshima office is spearheading the drive to publish this book. Together with Tomoko Watanabe of ANT-Hiroshima, a Hiroshima-based, non-profit organization that is involved in international cooperation projects, he aims to realize a picture book-adaptation of what was previously a kamishibai (paper slideshow) produced by ANT-Hiroshima. 

Through a collaborative effort with Hiroshima City and Hiroshima University, among others, ANT-Hiroshima as well as UNITAR runs the Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative (GLH). The organization has been distributing the seeds and saplings of A-bombed trees since 2011, both in Japan and abroad, towards the goal of spreading peace.

Even in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, ginkgo saplings from Hiroshima, delivered by GLH, have been planted. In Hiroshima, it was once said that there would be no vegetation for 75 years because of the effects of the nuclear bomb. The picture book, which Shamsul Hadi Shams is translating into the official languages of Afghanistan and for which he is also preparing new illustrations, tells the story of a flourishing A-bombed tree and birds and ants that come to visit it.

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