2012: One Million Bones Challenge

Humanitarian Crisis

One-Million bones header

1 million bones generated $500,000 for victims of conflict

September 2011—May 2013

Students Rebuild joined the One Million Bones project, CARE and Global Nomads Group to create 1,000,000 handmade bones as a visible petition against humanitarian crises. The Bezos Family Foundation matched student efforts with a donation of $500,000 to CARE’s work in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Challenge Overview

Violence and mass atrocities are happening today, but often go unnoticed and ignored.

In some parts of the world like Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Burma, mass violence and even mass killings are far too common. Because this issue is so horrifying and hard to comprehend, and hard to talk about with children, it doesn't get the attention it deserves.

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Conflict is more than violence.

When students around the world stepped up to raise awareness about genocide, many didn’t know that disease and starvation can be some of the biggest killers. Our teams learned that the dangerous reality for many people in conflict zones is a life without medical attention, food, potable water, and access to education. We connected with young people in conflict zones, and learned that ongoing crises disrupt a region’s economic recovery, making it hard for these young people to grow up and get jobs.

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1 million bones and a generation of young people committed to making a difference.

The One Million Bones Challenge mobilized students worldwide to make clay and paper mache bones as symbols of solidarity with victims and survivors of ongoing conflict. Students who created bones learned that genocide and mass atrocities are ongoing, and their compassion and artwork helped raise greater awareness around the world. Together our teams created 1 million bones, generating a $500,000 donation from the Bezos Family Foundation.

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Rebuilding life after crisis.

With the help of students around the world, CARE was able to use the money generated by the One Million Bones challenge to train young people as seamstresses, electronics, and data entry. For young people whose lives have been deeply disrupted by the legacy of conflict and displacement, the opportunity to learn job skills and begin a career is invaluable. Along with support from CARE psychologists, this job training helped young people earn money, and feel empowered to live their dreams.

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1 million bones

We challenged our teams to create 1,000,000 handmade bones as a visible petition against humanitarian crises. Each bone is a symbol of solidarity with victims and survivors of ongoing conflict. On Saturday, June 8, 2013, thousands of volunteers laid down all one million bones on the National Mall, the culmination of a global effort of young people speaking out against genocide.
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A beautiful clay skull by a student at Henry Ford Academy.

Bone-making with team J-Serve

Bone-making with the Burundi Bones team.

Bones made by the Bowling Green team.

An artful display of the bones made by Southampton.

The team at Henry Ford Academy with their bones made for the Challenge!

Signage for a bone-making event at Scarsdale Middle School.

Making bones with team J-Serve for the Challenge.

Where we came from

Bones across borders

Here are the places our One Million Bones Challenge teams call home. Click through the map to learn more about each team.
Your Team

One Million Bones Challenge Teaching Materials

The Challenge is over, but you can still make a difference.

Teaching materials from the One Million Bones Challenge are available for free download at any time.
Find curricula, videos, and more resources from all Challenges in our resource library.