Sendai Youth Collaborate for a 'Better World'

Sendai Youth Collaborate for a 'Better World'

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Jan 17, 2012
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Last weekend, over 1500 young people from across Japan converged for 'Gift by Gift for a Better World', a 3-day workshop held at S-pal Square, Sendai Train Station in Sendai, Japan. The centerpiece of the workshop was the magnificent Paper Crane Sculpture, designed by students at Tohoku University of Art & Design and composed of 100,000 of the 2 million paper cranes folded by Paper Cranes for Japan participants in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.


After the Paper Crane installation was unveiled during a festive opening ceremony, young people and their families gathered to fill hundreds of gift boxes with paper cranes folded by their peers across the globe. These gift boxes will be given to children throughout Japan as a symbolic gift of hope and healing. Elements from the giant Paper Crane Sculpture - including a heart-shaped map of the world - will find permanent homes in Japanese schools across Sendai. Students Rebuild is excited to offer a day-by-day photo synopsis of the workshop and the Paper Cranes for Japan Challenge! Be sure to also catch a great, five minute video feature about the event that recently aired on NHK World!


Day One: Students Converge for the Premiere of the Paper Cranes Sculpture
一日目: イベント初日、オープニング

On January 13th, hundreds of students from local elementary and middle schools participated in an opening ceremony. Afterward, each student added one paper crane to a beautiful heart-shaped map of the world.


Architecture for Humanity's Takahuru Saito captured the spirit of the opening ceremony in a short video:


Day Two: The Public Workshop Continues!
二日目: 一般参加のワークショップ

On the second day of the workshop, youth from across the region arrived in small groups to lend a hand to the production of a large paper crane banner that reads 'Thank You! Gift by Gift for a Better World'. You can find more photos from the second day of the workshop here!


Day Three: The Paper Cranes Prepare to Fly Home
三日目: 折り鶴たちが姿を変えて戻ってきました。

Students from the Tohoku University of Art & Design arranged hundreds of crane-filled gift boxes while school children helped to finish the 'Thank You' banner. In a few days, Tohoku University of Art & Design students and faculty will transport the finished paper crane elements to school sites across Sendai, where they'll become permanent art pieces.


About the Paper Cranes for Japan Challenge:


On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake struck the Tohoku region of Japan, resulting in a devastating tsunami that ravaged countless villages and towns. In response, Students Rebuild partnered with to ensure students worldwide have a way to support their Japanese peers.


The challenge was to make and mail in an origami crane by April 15, 2011, and each crane received was matched with $2 to rebuild in Japan by the Bezos Family Foundation. The goal was 100,000 cranes to represent wishes of support and healing, which would trigger $200,000 from the foundation to fund Architecture for Humanity's Tohoku reconstruction efforts in partnership with Japanese designers and builders. According to legend, anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes, which are sacred creatures in Japanese culture, will be granted a wish by a crane.


At the dedication ceremony for their new school, École Elie Dubois students
fold paper cranes for Japan. Architecture for Humanity is rebuilding École
Elie Dubois in partnership of Students Rebuild: Haiti participants, who
collectively raised $680,000 for school rebuilding programs across Haiti.

The response to our call to action? An amazing 2,000,000 cranes from 38 countries! From Armenia to New Zealand, from rural Kansas to urban Philadelphia, from elementary school classrooms to church basements and community cherry blossom festivals, young people came together to fold paper cranes – and mailed them by the boxful. Six weeks after the disaster, we counted an incredible 1 million cranes – exceeding our wildest hopes.


When the crane count exceeded the half-million mark, the Bezos Family Foundation decided to double its gift to $400,000 to reflect and further support the outpouring of generosity from young people across the world. Shortly after, an anonymous donor came forward to add $100,000 – making $500,000 for Japan! All proceeds from Paper Cranes for Japan support Architecture for Humanity's Tohoku Rebuilding Program.