Hello Kitty marks 30th birthday

Kyodo

The demure white cat with a cute button nose and whiskers, recognized worldwide as the Japanese icon Hello Kitty, began partying with 800 friends and guests at Rockefeller Center here Tuesday to kick off her 30th anniversary celebrations.

Hello Kitty was recently named UNICEF Special Friend of Children, an exclusive title for that character.

Sanrio, the company that created her, announced its intention to raise donations of at least $150,000 for UNICEF’s U.S. Fund for girls’ education programs.

Tokyo-based Sanrio also plans to embark on an advocacy program to educate fans about gender-based discrimination.

UNICEF spokeswoman Kini Schoop said, “Two-thirds of the 120 million children out of school are girls.”

“Girls are very important to the Hello Kitty brand and an education is vitally important to every girl,” said Bruce Giuliano, Sanrio’s vice president of licensing. “We are very impressed with UNICEF’s girls’ education initiatives.”