More than ever, peace is pertinent in today’s society. We are in a humanitarian crisis unlike anything we’ve seen since World War II, the environment is in trouble and global political power system is in a state of flux.
However, as a small group of social entrepreneurs, we’ve decided to turn this energy into something tangible. Instead of worrying about the future, we’ve decided to change it.
The Peace Crane Project (PCP) connects children of the world in a message of peace. It’s a simple and creative project that concurrently educates students about peace while giving them to opportunity to share this message with their counterparts in other countries. The project cultivates the message of peace on an international, local and personal level and has so far involved 2.5 million students worldwide since 2013. This is what we think the key to changing the future is – getting the leaders of the next generation involved in peace, and having them learn from experience that one person can and does make a difference.
The way the PCP operates is simple – students in classes around the world make origami peace cranes and doves and write messages of peace on them. The students are given the opportunity in class to brainstorm peace and what it means, it’s relevance in the world and it’s impact on people and the community. Students therefore get engaged in the topic in a fun and creative way – using art as a tool for education is powerful and effective. Students then bundle their messages of peace together and post them to an international partner school, and in return, they receive the origami made by their partner school back. We also encourage schools to sign a Peace Pledge, where they confirm their commitment to peaceful way of being.
The beauty of the project is that is promotes peace on multiple levels; personal peace is taught through the students interactions with each other in the classroom. They help one another, laugh and use their minds to actively engage in what peace is. On top of this, they know that their messages of peace are going to be shared with students just like them in another place. This invokes a sense of accomplishment and pride that is shared between the students. On a larger scale, this international exchange of peace messages means that millions of students each year are learning about peace and spreading the message across the world.
The Peace Crane Project has also been designed to be inclusive for students regardless of age, location and ability. If the origami peace cranes are too hard, no problem. Students can fold the less complicated peace doves instead. Student participants are young or wold find making origami difficult? That’s okay, use our coloring pages instead. For the schools who’s budgets don’t allow for international postage, that’s not a problem either. Schools can exchange doves electronically via email.
In the past, schools in some of the world’s least peaceful countries have participated including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan and Iraq. That means children in the countries that have experienced war and devastation are receiving messages of peace from students around the world, letting them know that they are in each each others thoughts and hearts. That even in time of conflict and trauma, there are still ways to let children of the world know that others care about them – a simple message that goes a long way.
This is the point of the Peace Crane Project – to spread the message of peace. To do this in a way that let’s kids know that their actions count; that one simple gesture can and does make a difference.
The messages that students write on the doves and the ideas they come up with in class are priceless. I’ve facilitated the project in Cambodia, Nepal, India and Costa Rica and the energy is always the same. Enthusiastic, passionate and hopeful. The Peace Crane Project is unique because it gives kids a sense of accomplishment in their actions. Kids in a rural area of India sent their doves to students in Austria.
Cambodian students made doves out of recycled paper and told me that peace is just as important at home as it is between countries. A student in Cost Rica shared a beautiful story of her family’s life of hardship and separation through the symbolism of three origami doves.
This is a project that works. Combining creativity with compassion to yield positive results for students all around the world.
Getting students educated about peace now is critical for the future. Peace is not some airy-fair ideal; it’s critical for human progression and is an achievable goal if we work for it. It is the means to an end. For so long the world has been suffering from conflict and violence, and it’s not getting better. Corporate and State greed for power has dominated the mentality of our world for too long and it’s time things changed.
Creating peace by being peaceful is a message that’s been preached by many leaders before us: Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela all said the same thing. No other project in the world is reaching this many students and effectively promoting peace on such a scale.
So our goal for 2017 is this: Join us. Join us in the global movement for a better world. Know that your part does make a difference and that the collective effort of everyone is what will create change. Peace is the mechanism that is going to change this world, so join us today for the Peace Crane Project.
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