Paper for Peace

Project of folding origami intends to help grant a wish for an ailing child. This piece also ran in the Spring 2009 issue.

By Kasey Panetta

A Thousand Cranes have found their way all the way from Japan to Syracuse University, flying on the dream of a little girl.

The campaign, a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, was based on the story of Sadako Sasaki, a toddler living in Hiroshima during World War II.

Sadako developed leukemia from the radiation caused by the atomic bomb dropped on her village.  While lying in the hospital bed, a friend told her it was said that whoever folded a thousand cranes would be granted one wish.  Sadako, determined to be healthy again, began the task of folding 1,000 cranes, called senbazuru in Japanese.  As the story goes, Sadako died before she was able to complete the 1,000 cranes.  But her cranes and her story were left behind as a symbol of hope and peace.

Christopher Miyabe, co-founder of Club Japan, was inspired by Sadako’s story and began to design a fundraiser that would both acknowledge the importance of the cranes and raise funds for the foundation.

In the spirit of Sadako’s story, students will donate $1 to fold an origami crane and write their name on it.  The cranes and a list of donors will be displayed at the “Wishing the Night Away” dance, benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation, to be held at the end of the nine-day campaign.  SU’s Residence Hall Association and Club Japan plan to raise $3,000 to grant the “last wish” of a sick child in Syracuse.

Miyabe said the fundraiser is about raising money and cultural awareness using a famous Japanese story and cultural symbol.  The origami will be done in all the residence halls, and students working at tables will share and explain the historical significance of Sadako’s story and the 1,000 cranes.

“One Thousand Cranes is a Japanese story, that 1,000 cranes can live beyond 1,000 years,” Miyabe said.  “It’s a symbol for peace.”

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