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1,000 Paper Cranes for Japanese Relief Efforts

Jenna Ellis '13 and Anya Kostenko '13 folded 1,000 cranes in only two days with the help of some friends. | Photo contributed by Jenna Ellis '13

In an effort to raise money for those afflicted by the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan, Jenna Ellis ’13 and Anya Kostenko ’13 are leading a group effort to fold 1,000 paper cranes to sell during a night at Toquet Hall on April 16.

Ellis and Kostenko, along with 10 other friends, chose the crane project as a result of the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, which chronicles the true story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japeanese girl suffering from leukemia as a result of the atomic bomb. Sasaki tries to fold 1,000 paper cranes because according to a Japanese proverb, “He that folds a 1000 origami cranes will be granted a wish.”

In the wake of the current nuclear crisis, Kostenko remembered the story that she had read when she was younger, and immediately went to Ellis to pitch the idea.

“We chose to reenact the thousand paper cranes to honor both the people that died 50 years ago and the suffering of the people of Japan currently due to the radiation that has consumed their country once again,” the duo said.

From 7 to 10 p.m. Rachel Samuels ‘14, Meaghan Elliot ‘13, Richard Granger, Jacqueline Devine, and Ayrton Ellis will perform at Toquet Hall event, and anyone in attendance who contributes a donation of $5 will receive a crane. All donation will go to Save the Children, which has recently created a fund for the children of Japan.

“Sadako Sasaki, 50 years ago, brought attention to the lives lost to radiation, especially the lives of the Japanese children,” Ellis and Kostenko said. “As Sadako Sasaki said in a haiku she wrote, ‘I shall write peace upon your wings, and you shall fly around the world so that children will no longer have to die this way.’”

While Sadako lost her battle with leukemia after folding only 644 cranes, the girls have managed to reach the 1,000 crane mark. After teaching themselves how to fold cranes, they devoted two Sundays to the task, and spent five hours on both days doing nothing but folding.

“The cranes are a symbol of hope for the Japanese people,” Ellis and Kostenko said. “We want them to know that we are here for them and that we will do our best to help.”

In addition to the upcoming event at Toquet Hall, both girls plan to be in attendance at Ecofest and other local events in the upcoming months to spread awareness about the hardships of the Japanese people, especially the nation’s children, and to raise money to help come to their aid.

Still, after all that folding, both girls are very hopeful that all those hand cramps were worth it, and that this unique fundraising idea pays of and raises money to help the struggling children a struggling nation.


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