"Pray for Japan” is a group of approximately 20 people from the International School of Beijing who are associated with Japan in various ways. Shortly after the earthquake, five ISB high school students organized events at the school to raise awareness for the earthquake/tsunami victims. They asked the entire school to observe a moment of silence and to participate in folding paper cranes, symbolizing a wish for recovery in the country (In Japan, it is believed that if a person folds 1,000 paper cranes, his or her wish will come true.). Mothers of these students were moved by their gesture and decided to do something themselves to help. After discovering there were many people who felt the same way, they all put their thoughts into action and created “Pray for Japan.”
One of the main goals was to raise awareness, letting people in our community understand the devastation left behind and how much help was still needed. Another goal was to raise money assisting the victims and their families.
In addition to donations collected at the school, “Pray for Japan” held bake sales, jewelry sales, made paper cranes and more to raise funds. The school PTA donated hand-made quilts that were available for a silent auction during the annual Spring Fair. As of the end of that event, over RMB 35,500 has been raised and will be turned over to the Japanese Red Cross through the Japanese Embassy. For those still interested in donating, click here.
None of the women from “Pray for Japan” has been back to the country since the disaster, although during the summer many hope to return for a visit. Several wish to call on schools or orphanages to see what more they can do to help. They have friends who have lost houses and relatives, and there’s the constant worry about those who live nearby the power plant. Thankfully, however, the extended families of those in the group all survived the disasters.
"Pray for Japan” has been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from the community. What started as an intense desire to do something or anything, turned into a grander demonstration of overall human kindness. From their simple wish in the beginning to make 1,000 paper cranes as a symbol of support, there have now been over 4,700 created, proving that every effort can and does make a lasting difference.