Akram Jomaa students send messages of hope

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Inspired by a Letters of Hope campaign in the Lethbridge area, leadership students at Calgary Islamic School Akram Jomaa Campus came up with their own way to lift the spirits of those hospitalized in their city.

Through Letters of Hope, students, including those at R.I. Baker Middle School, wrote messages or drew pictures on what looked like old-fashioned envelopes for delivery to Chinook Regional Hospital patients.

Students at Akram Jomaa gave the idea their own twist, by folding 1,000 origami cranes. The crane is a Japanese symbol of good fortune and longevity. By folding paper into the form of the bird, the students were following the example set by Sadako Sasaki, who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. She was later diagnosed with cancer and began folding cranes while in hospital in hopes of completing 1,000, which, legend has it, would result in her being granted a wish. When she succumbed to illness before completing 1,000, her classmates took on the task.

The cranes made by the AJ students were delivered to patients at Peter Lougheed Centre, as part of care packages distributed on Christmas Eve.

In addition to folding cranes representing a wish for wellness, students created chains of paper gingerbread men, decorated with pictures and messages. The paper chains were displayed at the west entrance to the hospital.

Vice-Principal Nesmh Elkestawi said her student leaders were keen to find another way to give back to their community. Peter Lougheed Centre is not far from the school and one of the student leaders is a regular volunteer at the hospital.