Japanese students seek donations for Syrian boys with cancer

A group of Japanese university students solicit donations through crowdfunding to support two boys with childhood cancer in war-torn Syria.

The boys are Salah, 10, and Ibraheem, 9, whom the students got to know through a non-governmental organization. They are fighting the disease in Aleppo, in northern Syria, and are unable to receive adequate treatment.

Syrian boy Ibraheem (left) receives treatment at a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, in February 2021. (Photo courtesy of Ibraheem’s family) (Kyodo)

The students started their activities last year and set a goal of 700,000 yen ($ 6,350) for this year. The money will be used for the boys’ medical treatment and their travel costs to hospitals.

Tamami Yoshioka, a second year student at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies majoring in Arabic, has been participating in the project since last winter.

Using her language skills, Yoshioka, 22, exchanged messages with the boys’ families, and she said she felt an urgent need for help.

In addition to the boys’ state of health, she was told about the hard life of Syrian citizens under economic sanctions.

Yoshioka and other students have said that amid the global coronavirus pandemic many people find themselves in dire straits, but the group is unwilling to unilaterally curtail international cooperation.

The students have so far reached this year’s donation target, but they are looking for more support and will be accepting donations until late Monday evening.

More information is available at https://readyfor.jp/projects/team_beko_syria

The photo provided shows Syrian boy Salah showing off his drawing at his home in Aleppo, Syria, in May 2020. (Photo courtesy of Salah’s family) (Kyodo)

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