2011: Paper Cranes for Japan Challenge
Earthquake and Tsunami Recovery
Your paper cranes generated $400,000 to rebuild Japan
March - June 2011
On March 11, 2011 a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Sendai, Japan.
The earthquake and tsunami destroyed schools, libraries, stores, and parks, and pushed many families out of their homes—leaving young people without spaces to study or spend time with other children after school. As our teams connected and followed Japan’s recovery process from classrooms around world, they learned that rebuilding isn’t just about building schools or homes, but also inspiring a renewed sense of community and belonging.
When 2 million cranes showed up, we knew we could make a difference together.
In Japan the crane is a special symbol of hope, thought to bring healing during challenging times. Together, students around the world made more than 2 million origami cranes and raised $500,000 to support the design, repair, and construction of youth facilities. Architecture for Humanity worked with local partners to design and build a youth center and give students in Japan inspiring places to learn and thrive.
We built the “We are One” center as a space to for young people to gather.
One of the places built was the ‘We Are One’ center, called Kitakami. This space was designed to provide close, fresh food to the residents of Kitakami and also create a place for students to hang out after school. After the construction was completed, the community used the center right away.
2 million paper cranes
Where we came from
Cranes across borders
Paper Cranes for Japan Challenge Teaching Materials
The Challenge is over, but you can still make a difference.
Find curricula, videos, and more resources from all Challenges in our resource library.