Thursday, March 16, 2006

Paper Cranes

Last year before the Christmas seasons way back in the month of September, my colleagues and me decided to do a meaningful project. We bought colourful origami papers and decided to fold paper cranes to be gift packed for the residents at Dover Park Hospice, who were suffering from the deadly terminal illness - cancer. The cranes were beautifully folded using colourful origami papers by my colleagues during their lunch breaks and spare capacity and some even brought home to fold the paper cranes to hit our traget of 2,000 paper cranes. The real story behind the paper cranes is indeed very touching.
Why Paper Cranes for Peace?
Every year many thousands of people around the world fold paper cranes as an expression of hope for a world at peace, where non-violent means are used to resolve conflicts, and where people can live without fear. For most of these people, the origin of the paper crane as a symbol of peace probably lies with the story of Sadako Sasaki. Sadako was just two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. While she suffered no immediate injury, the effects of her exposure caught up with her some ten years later and she fought a courageous battle with leukaemia. During her treatment she began to fold a thousand paper cranes (senbazuru) so that her wish for good health would come true. She died before completing her task. Her fellow students folded the remainder of the thousand cranes which were buried with her. Sadako’s courage and faith inspired her friends, and students from across the world, to raise money for a memorial to the children who were innocent victims of the atomic bomb.
Each year children and adults from all over the world fold a thousand paper cranes to be taken to the Children’s Monument in the Peace Park in Hiroshima. The cranes are placed at the foot of the monument where the inscription reads: ‘This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.’
When is a good time? Any time is a good time to be folding, but lots of people like to set a goal to finish their cranes by a significant date. Possibilities include:
6 August - Hiroshima Day;
9 August - Nagasaki Day also our Singapore National Day
15 September - International Peace Day
24 October - International Children’s Day; and
17 November - World Peace Day .
What do we do with the cranes once they are folded?
Some projects donate their cranes to brighten the lives of residents and patients in nursing homes or hospitals, especially those treating leukaemia or cancer, thus developing a different sort of link to the Sadako story.
So now whenever you see a paper crane, reflect on the story behind it.

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