Japan tsunami relief turns students to origami

A group of Toronto university students are using the ancient art of origami as they raise money for earthquake and tsunami-stricken Japan.

Toronto university students are using the ancient art of origami as they raise money for disaster-stricken Japan.

Watching the images of Japanese people suffering from the effects of Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami, a group of students from York University set up a table and began to fold paper cranes. The students folded one crane for each $1 donated.

The students plan to send the donations to the Japanese Red Cross to assist with the relief effort in Japan. The students intend to send the cranes to York's sister universities in Japan.

"I have people just empty their entire wallets for this," said Ken Wu of the Japanese International Students' Association.

"It's a great thing … a great sense of community and connection." 

Students at York University in Toronto were busy folding origami cranes on Tuesday after receiving donations for disaster relief in Japan. (CBC)

York's Japanese students association initially hoped to raise $1,000 in donations. As of Tuesday evening, they had more than doubled that total.

They have also expanded to Hamilton's McMaster University and the University of Waterloo.

"Hopefully, we'll hit $5,000 by the end of the week," Wu said. "We're going to continue this process, possibly throughout the rest of the school year."

The students are one of a handful of groups in the Greater Toronto Area pitching in to help Japan recover from Friday's devastating disasters.

Dave Toycen of World Vision Canada said his organization has raised $400,000 for disaster relief so far.

Toycen said he's not surprised at Canadians' willingness to give.

"A triple disaster is a way to describe it," Toycen said. "You have the tsunami, the earthquake and now the radiation issue as well around the nuclear reactors.  I just think it's touched the hearts of people across the country. They want to help."


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Japanese International Students’ Association at York University was selling paper cranes for $1 each. In fact, students folded one crane for each dollar donated. The donations will be sent to the Japanese Red Cross and the paper cranes will be sent to York’s sister universities in Japan.
    Mar 17, 2011 11:18 AM ET