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Potter magic helps orphans

Publication: Gulf Daily News
Date: Jan 27 2006 

BUCHAREST : A fund-raising event in Bucharest for orphans yesterday produced tens of thousands of dollars, including the proceeds from the auction of signed Harry Potter books.

Six copies of the latest adventure of the boy wizard, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, autographed by author J K Rowling, went for between 5,000 and 18,000 euros (BD2,300-BD8,280) each at a dinner.

Rowling paid 8,500 euros (BD3,910) for a football shirt belonging to Brazilian star Claudio Taffarel.

In all 170,000 euros (BD78,200) were raised, the money to go to orphans throughout Europe .

Rowling, who arrived in Romania on Wednesday, was due to meet President Traian Basescu and take part in a television fund-raiser for orphans.

Romania has some 80,000 orphans, 50,000 in foster homes, the rest in orphanages.

Rowling's interest in the orphans' welfare started when she saw a newspaper photograph of a child in a caged bed in the Czech Republic almost two years ago, her initial instinct was to turn the page.

"I was pregnant ... and vulnerable in the way that a pregnant woman is to those kind of issues regarding children," Rowling said in an interview earlier. "It was an awful image and I almost didn't want to let it into my head."

But Rowling forced herself to look. And that experience persuaded the 40-year-old British writer to use her fame to help children in need in the Czech Republic , Romania and elsewhere. "The next second I thought 'well you just need to read this article and if it's as bad as it looks, you have to do something about it' and that's why I am doing it."


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