x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Using origami to aid Japan disaster victims

Japanese expatriates and UAE residents are working through official and unofficial channels to help people affected by the earthquake.

UAE-Japan Cultural Centre representatives Kaoru Makhlouf, left, and Naoko Kishida attend the
UAE-Japan Cultural Centre representatives Kaoru Makhlouf, left, and Naoko Kishida attend the "Dolls Are Us" doll show, where they displayed Japanese dolls, at the Corporate Executive Hotel Apartments' Caffeine lounge in Dubai this week.

DUBAI // Japanese nationals and concerned UAE residents are mobilising their resources and getting creative to help a country struggling with twin disasters.

Bake sales, fashion shows and internet campaigns are just a few examples of private efforts to raise funds for a variety of charities, including those dedicated to orphans and animals, two groups that are often neglected during disasters and their aftermath.

Kikumi Nakagawa, 28, was taking part in those efforts yesterday, and her chosen method was demonstrating origami, an ancient tradition of her homeland.

As she twisted and turned a piece of yellow paper into a bird, she said: "A legend says that if you send 1,000 origami crane birds to a place, then a wish comes true."

Ms Nakagawa and 300 other Japanese expatriates, all airline industry employees, plan to hold a series of bake sales and origami sessions next week, some private and others at local universities.

They have created posters to publicise their campaign, each bearing "human being" in Japanese script.

"See, this line can't stand without the other," she said. "It is symbolic of how we are all human beings, and we all need each other."

One of Ms Nakagawa's colleagues will transport the 1,000 origami cranes to the Sendai airport, where they will be displayed and blessed. Sendai and its environs were hard hit by the powerful earthquake.

Rickie Naito-Cutis, a Japanese citizen and mother of three living in Abu Dhabi, will hold a private coffee session on Wednesday morning with other homemakers of various nationalities.

"It is very important to raise awareness about other charities, especially those dealing with orphans, as there will be unfortunately many more after this crisis. Most people will be donating to Japan Red Cross, so the smaller yet very active charities will be in great need."

Most fund-raising in the UAE is being done privately, because public fund-raising can be carried out only with permission of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

The UAE Japan Culture Centre, working with the Dubai Women's Association, is planning several initiatives, including a kimono show, which will take place soon.

rghazal@thenational.ae


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