International kids fold one million paper cranes for Japan!

Education - May 23rd, 2011

Over ¥40,000,000 raised for charity
For the past two month kids around the world were challenged to create 100,000 Paper Cranes for Japan. Last week the hard-working volunteers at Students Rebuild counted the one millionth crane, dramatically exceeding the goal and inspiring a US$400,000 donation to rebuild schools from the Bezos Family Foundation and US$100,000 from an anonymous donor (Over ¥40,000,000).

The effort, a collaboration between’s Paper Cranes for Japan campaign and Students Rebuild, was launched in response to the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan on March 11th to inspire young people worldwide to support their Japanese peers.

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. Eight provinces in Canada and every state in the U.S. participated. Children responded worldwide from 36 countries, including students in Haiti, who folded hundreds of cranes for Japan during the groundbreaking of a newly reconstructed school in Port au Prince.

“The students in our school and the community center are very excited to help out, as they understand what it means to be struck by devastation,” says Courtney McCurdy, education programs officer at J/P Haitian Relief Organization. “This project is also a great learning tool for the kids in Haiti to teach them that they too, can help those in need.” and Students Rebuild’s Paper Cranes for Japan campaign issued a simple challenge to young people online: make and mail in an origami crane, and each crane received will be matched with $2 to rebuild in Japan by the Bezos Family Foundation. The goal: 100,000 cranes, which would trigger $200,000 from the foundation to fund Architecture for Humanity’s Sendai reconstruction efforts in partnership with Japanese designers and builders. The thousands of cranes are planned to live on as a permanent art installation in a youth facility rebuilt by Architecture for Humanity in Japan. After 29 days, when the crane count exceeded 500,000, the Bezos Family Foundation decided to double its gift to reflect and further support the outpouring of generosity from young people across the world to help their peers in Japan and to make a difference.

“Clearly, the support for this project has exceeded our wildest expectations,” says Jackie Bezos, president of the Bezos Family Foundation, which founded Students Rebuild. “If there’s any doubt that young people want to contribute, here is the overwhelming evidence.”

Inspired by the commitment of the Bezos Family Foundation and outpouring of support from children worldwide, an anonymous donor has contributed an additional $100,000. However, the boxes kept coming-another 500,000 cranes worth!

“I know it sounds corny, but it has been emotionally uplifting,” says John Moquin, an employee at the downtown Seattle UPS Store who helps field the hundreds of boxes of cranes a day pouring in for Students Rebuild. “I’m a cynic at heart but the response has been unbelievable.”

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