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International Day of Peace Celebrated in Moldova

Moldova-2014-September-International Day of Peace

Chisinau, Moldova - The Sun Japanese Culture Center, supported by UPF-Moldova, organized a series of educational and peace awareness activities in libraries, in elementary, middle and high schools, and in colleges, engaging children and youth in making 1000 paper cranes expressing hopes for peace in Ukraine.

Peace in Ukraine (Moldova’s eastern neighbor) is the desire of Moldovans, and concerns about tragic events in eastern Ukraine are on many people’s Facebook walls and in their conversations and prayers.

The Japanese volunteers currently in Moldova had visited Ukraine earlier in the year and shed tears as they walked past hundreds of pictures of people who were killed in the fighting, with candles and flowers placed in their memory. The young women wanted to express their heartfelt desire for peace and proposed UPF-Moldova to work with Moldovan students to make 1000 cranes expressing desires for peace in Ukraine. At an Ambassadors for Peace meeting on Aug. 21, Omori Nobuko, director the Sun Culture Center, introduced the proposal to the 50 Ambassadors for Peace, teachers, NGO leaders, volunteers, journalists, artists and new friends. Representatives of the Onisifor Ghibu Library administration liked the initiative very much, and Ambassador for Peace Lilia Golovei from Galata Middle School and other guests showed interest and offered to host activities in their institutions.

The thousand origami cranes were popularized through the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who was 24 months old when she was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. Sasaki soon developed leukemia and, at age 12 after spending a significant amount of time in a nursing home, began making origami cranes with the goal of making one thousand, inspired by the Japanese legend legend that if you make 1000 cranes your wish will be granted. In a popular version of the story as told in the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, she folded only 644 before she became too weak to fold any more and died on Oct. 25, 1955; in her honor, her classmates completed the rest for her.

On Sept. 12, the project started at Trolleybook (an old trolley bus parked near a children amusement park and painted, decorated and transformed into library for making reading books more accessible for children). Children, youth, parents with children and whole families walking by willingly joined a short master class on how to make paper origami cranes and contribute them to the project.

The next host was the Onisifor Ghibu library, where more than 100 students from the Polytechnic College and Construction College attended a program on Sept. 16 that included songs and poems about peace.

At noon on Sept. 17, elementary students from the Pro-Success High School were trainees in an origami master class. This was one of the most challenging groups to coach in art of making paper cranes but also the most rewarding in their response of joy upon completing the task.

Dr. Cerbusca Pavel, vice-director of Academy of Science High School, and his students were very inspired by the idea of 1000 cranes for peace in Ukraine. Organized by Maria Pascaru, who talked about the story behind the 1000 cranes, students there had made origami paper cranes one year ago to raise funds to buy toys and sweets for children from the Oncological Hospital. This year, they made more than 300 cranes for peace in Ukraine. For a report, click here.

Students at the Orizont High School, together with their teacher, Mrs. Curechi, were so moved during the activity at the Academy of Science High School that they invited Japanese volunteers and UPF representatives to their high school very next day. The Sun Culture center team was very warmly welcomed by the school administration. Each class delegated two or three representatives to attend the master class on making the paper cranes, and they shared the experience with their classmates, friends and parents.

Another institution that was among the first to join the project was Galata Middle School. Ambassador for Peace Lilia Golovei is tireless when it comes to organizing activities to bring together the whole student body like one big family. One year ago, this school made paper pinwheels and organized a flash-mob on the International Day of Peace. Families who came to Moldova fleeing war zones in the CIS region send their children to this school, where classes are also taught in Romanian and Russian. It is a very small and externally humble school, but the warmth of people's hearts is overwhelming. At the end of the program, volunteers from the Sun Culture Center led all the students in Japanese songs and dances. This school that welcomes children of different nations is an example of the UN’s motto for this year’s International Day of Peace: "The Rights of Peoples to Peace." Their small input may seem insignificant but it is expression of people's desire for peace for all the people on earth. On Sept. 22, Mrs. Golovei Lilia and two of her students were invited to appear on the National TV morning talk show “Buna dimineata!” (Good Morning) to share about their experiences with the 1000 cranes for peace in Ukraine project. For a report click here.

The NGO “SOS Autism” was happy to join the project. On Sept. 19, an event was hosted by Orphanage School No. 2, where children with autism study together with other students and parents. Working together, they mastered the art of origami with the help of Japanese volunteers.

The next host for the 1000 cranes project was the Construction College. After students from this college attended the activity on Sept. 16 at Onisifor Ghibu, they expressed a desire to involve more of their colleagues and invited UPF to their institution.

Students in every school or classroom where the 1000 cranes project was presented had similar experiences. After very serious and focused efforts to make the paper cranes, the very moment when the crane started to fly in the hands of children, joy and smiles radiated from every face. These fragile works of art will carry on their wings the heartfelt wishes and prayers for peace of the people of Moldova peace to the people of Ukraine. For a report click here.

Finally, young Ambassadors for Peace shared about UPF values and the 1000 cranes for peace project at the 60th anniversary Sport Tourism in Moldova outdoor camp.

This year International day of Peace 2014 activities were announced one month before, on Aug. 21, with the launching of the second edition of UPF founder Dr. Sun Myung Moon’s autobiography, As a Peace Loving Global Citizen, in the Romanian language, at the Onisifor Ghibu public library. The event was widely covered on national television (Moldova 1), a report, posts on web pages, and in social media. See a detailed report and comments.

At a Sept. 25 Ambassadors for Peace meeting, UPF Regional Director Dr. Jin Hwa Chung and Mr. Kwon Sang An from the Family Federation for World Peace International introduced the Sunhak Peace Prize that will be awarded in August 2015, scholarships to Sun Moon University in Korea, and the Wonmo Pyeongae Foundation’s support for talented children and youth worldwide. During this gathering, the results of the 1000 cranes for peace in Ukraine project were reported.

International Day of Peace 2014 from Universal Peace Federation International

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