Paper cranes folded by children in Gabon sent to Hiroshima

by Takashi Kenda, Staff Writer

One thousand paper cranes folded by children in Gabon, a country in Central Africa, are being delivered to the city of Hiroshima. The children spent about three months folding the cranes, inspired by their study of Sadako Sasaki, a girl from Hiroshima who served as the impetus for raising the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Sadako was struck down by leukemia ten years after the atomic bombing, a lingering result of the bomb’s radiation. Before her death, she had diligently folded paper cranes, believing this would restore her health.

The paper cranes from Gabon will be handed to a city official at one of the venues for the Seminar on Humanitarian Assistance in Africa, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for November 28 and 29 in Hiroshima.

Students at Notam School in the capital city of Libreville, which provides education for pre-school age and elementary school children, folded the paper cranes. The school principal discovered a peace-study program on the internet and, with his initiative, the students learned about Sadako’s story and 12 students then made the cranes.

Through the Japanese Embassy in Gabon, the school sent the paper cranes to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs so they could be delivered to Hiroshima. On the second day of the seminar, November 29, Francois Pendjet Bonbila, Charge d’affaires ad interim of the Embassy of the Gabonese Republic in Japan, will hand the 1,000 paper cranes to Hiroshima Deputy Mayor Asako Toyoda at Hiroshima City International House.

At the venue, a video of the Gabonese children folding the paper cranes will also be shown. An official at the Hiroshima City Peace Promotion Division stated, “When we offer the paper cranes to the Children’s Peace Monument, we will surely be thinking of those children in Gabon.”

(Originally published on November 27, 2008)