In honour of this day we reflect on the inspirational story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who was two years old when she was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Unfortunately, Sadako developed leukaemia at the age of 12 due to radiation sickness and was given a year to live. While in hospital, Sadako was inspired by the ancient Japanese belief that anyone who makes 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish from the gods.
Rather than giving up, Sadako began making the cranes with the hope it would cure her. The Japanese crane has been a symbol of happiness and long life for centuries, and it is believed that the wings of the crane can carry souls up to paradise.
With the help of her friends and family, Sadako managed to achieve her goal of making 1000 cranes. When she sadly passed away that year, her classmates swore an oath that they would build a monument in her honour. Their efforts sparked a children’s peace movement and fundraising campaign that swept through Japan and transformed the origami crane into an international symbol of peace. Several temples, including some in Hiroshima, have eternal flames for world peace. At these temples, people often donate origami cranes to add to the prayer for world peace.