Monday, 19 September 2011


Sadako Sasaki was 12 years old when she died of leukemia, in 1955, which she contracted due to the radiation from the atomic bombing is Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, during the World War 2, in 1945.
Sadako was like any other normal girl, and the day the atomic bomb was exploded in her city, she was indoors with her family. But, the radiation had crept into the air, the soil and water of these cities. She was  2 years old.
She grew up to be a very loving and energetic girl. She was a good athlete, with the dream of becoming the fastest runner for her relay team. It was when she was about 12 years, that the first signs of fatigue and dizziness, made her parents take her to a hospital to be tested. She was fully aware of the illness, which her mother called “the atom bomb” disease. She knew that a number of people had suffered due to the radiation, but she never expected to be one of them. Unfortunately, the infection had spread in her body and she had to be hospitalized.
Sadako, saw her entire life coming to an end and was quite dejected and depressed. Till one day, her best friend, Chizuko, came to visit her and brought her a beautiful golden paper crane. She told her it was for luck. Sadako did not understand, and her friend told her that it is belief that if a person folds a thousand paper cranes and makes a wish, it shall come true.
The crane came as a new hope for life, and Sadako was ready to do anything to live. So, inspired by the story she began making her own cranes. She made them with whatever paper she could get her hands on, and while folding every crane, she would say “I wish, I'd get better”.
The nurse who took care of her, her family, everyone, started helping her by bringing her paper to make the cranes. Her brother helped her tie up the cranes on a string around her room in the hospital. But, the disease had taken her entire body, and she finally died 8 months after being hospitalized, and having made 644 cranes.
During her stay in the hospital whenever she spoke to her mother, friends or the nurse, she always cursed “the atom bomb” disease (leukemia) and wished and hoped no other child or person should ever suffer from it, and there should be no war, because war creates the destruction.
Her friends understanding her wish and hope, completed the remaining cranes, and lay all the 1000 cranes on her grave, as a symbol of peace and hope for all the children of Japan and the world.
This year in March, a similar disaster occurred in Japan. This time it first came as an earthquake and a tsunami, the completely wiped out certain cities of Japan. The impact of this disaster resulted in an explosion in the nuclear power plant in Fukushima and the radiation once again spread around, making the people of that area flee their homes and cities and move to safer places. The destruction caused by the earthquake, the tsunami and then this explosion was massive.
This made us think, Why? Why are we suffering again and again? Why are these natural disasters occurring? Why is there a nuclear power plant in a country which has already seen large scale destruction because of the chemicals? Who really suffers from these disasters? How can we help? What can we do to try and stop this occurring in Japan or even our own country?
We needed an inspiration to move forward with answers to our questions, and the story of Sadako Sasaki and the 1000 Paper Cranes, became our inspiration. The children we work with face their own conflicts and issues every day, but, to make them understand the bigger picture and realize they are not alone can be a big motivator for them to look at a future of hope and life, rather than destruction and turmoil. 

photographs courtesy -

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