I have always admired the Japanese tradition of origami – those teeny tiny pieces of paper folded to create beautiful birds, flowers and animals are awe inspiring – but I have never managed to successfully fold anything more intricate than an envelope. That all changed however, when I decided that Freedom House should be the place for an original origami design – paper crane earrings.
Paper cranes represent peace and freedom, especially for children. They are a symbol of the children’s peace movement and are folded as a wish for peace. Anybody from any background, living conditions or education background can fold paper cranes – they are fun, easy and can be made from any sort of paper. Many children all over the world have folded paper cranes to represent their voice and desire for freedom.
The peace crane movement began in Japan after the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. A young girl, Sadako Sasaki, was 2 years old at the time of the bombing and was only one mile from the spot where the bomb landed. As a result of her exposure to the a-bomb she developed and died from leukemia. Before she died she attempted to fold 1000 paper cranes, believing that the gods would grant her wish to get well if she did so.
Since the story of Sadako became known, a campaign to build a memorial for all the children killed by the atomic bomb started and eventually a memorial was built in Hiroshima. Every year, children all over the world fold peace cranes and send them to the monument to represent their voice for peace and freedom.
The symbol of the peace crane – for freedom and peace – is something that all the students of Freedom House wish for. Each crane is folded with a wish for something they desire, and to fashion these wishes into an earring that will be worn from Thailand to Toronto means that their dreams and desires and wishes will spread all over the world.
The earrings Freedom House students and volunteers make are fashioned from recycled paper and each crane is unique. They are available to purchase from the Free Bird Cafe shop and come in two sizes – 20baht for small and 29baht for long earrings. Students are already thinking up new designs they want to make into jewellery that we will keep you all updated on!