Belfast Telegraph

Crafty way to send a real message of peace

By Joanne Sweeney

To Hiroshima with love from Belfast.

These origami paper cranes represent peace and forgiveness by people who gather at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan to remember those who died during the devastating 1945 atom bomb attack.

Created at an east Belfast community arts and craft groups, they are the first paper cranes sent from Northern Ireland as part of the hundreds of thousands that are displayed every August.

They are small gifts of remembrance for a 10-year-old girl, Sadako Sasaki, who died from the effects of radiation poisoning four years after she was caught up in the bombing.

Members of Knocknagoney community arts and crafts group made the cranes destined for Hiroshima under the guidance of their origami teacher, Mike Russell.

He said that the story of Sadako was a poignant one that had stuck with him after he visited the Hiroshima Peace Park.

"Sadako loved paper cranes so much.

"They are the Asian equivalent of the Western dove of peace sign; she believed that if she folded 1,000 of them she would be cured," said Mr Russell.

"Now children all over Japan and the world fold and send paper cranes to be hung at the Children's Peace Monument.

"It's great that cranes from Belfast will be included in the display as a sign of respect."

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