By Meg Carter, ChildFund Sponsorship Communication Specialist; videos produced by ChildFund interns Sierra Winston and Caitlin Swoboda, with editing by Erin Olsen
One of the best parts of becoming a sponsor through ChildFund is that you make a friend — sometimes for life. We hear from formerly sponsored children all the time about what their sponsor’s assistance, gifts and letters meant to them.
Today, we celebrate the International Day of Friendship, an event declared in 2011 by the United Nations, with a few simple crafts to send to your sponsored child and step-by-step instructions on video for friendship bracelets and origami cranes. These crafts are small enough to enclose in a letter, and they represent the bridge you are building between cultures and people.
Knot a Friendship Bracelet
Gather together seven to 12 lengths of embroidery floss in different colors. Include your child’s favorites, the colors of her country’s flag or the colors of the rainbow. Use multiple strands of the same color — or various shades of color — for wider stripes. Strands should be about a yard long and arranged in the pattern you want to see.
Tie an overhand knot about 3 inches from one end. Tape the knot to a wall, at eye-length, to anchor the bracelet as you work. Other options include clipping the bracelet to a clipboard or taping it to a table.
With the far left strand, tie a half-hitch knot over the adjacent one, making the shape of the number 4. Tie a second half-hitch knot on the same strand.
Continue to tie two half-hitch knots on each of the remaining strands. You now have a band of color, and the floss that began at the far left is at the far right.
Return to the far left strand and knot the next row. Continue knotting until the bracelet is long enough for a child’s wrist; then, close it off with another overhand knot. Trim any excess floss, leaving about 3 inches. Knot the ends of the floss so they won’t unravel.
Watch the video:
Fold a Peace Crane
Begin with a square of origami paper. Fold it lengthwise into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle into a square and then, diagonally, into a triangle. Unfold the paper, orienting it as a diamond, back (duller) side up. Use the fold lines to press the sides of the diamond in, forming an accordion-fold square with a closed top and four points joining at the bottom.
Lift the left and right sides of the square into the center diagonal, forming a kite shape. Flip it over and repeat on the reverse side. Unfold the kite and lift the bottom point of the square. The flaps on either side will fold into the center in a long diamond. Flip it over and repeat on the reverse side.
Fold each of the two legs at the bottom in toward the center. Flip over and repeat on the reverse side. Lift the right leg, folding it out at a right angle for the crane’s tail; then turn it inside out. Repeat with the left leg to form the crane’s neck. Fold down the tip of the neck, turning it inside out for the head.
Pull down gently on each wing. Hold the neck and tail joints, gently stretching them apart until the crane flaps its wings.
Watch the video:
Craft a Memory Collage
If you’ve sponsored a child for a year or more, you’ll have photographs from annual progress reports. Copy or digitize them to create a greeting card documenting your unique friendship. Add photographs of your family, words in both languages, cultural features of each country and any other specifics that define your relationship.
Build a Peace Bridge
North America’s second busiest border crossing is near Niagara Falls. Each year, the Peace Bridge’s five graceful steel arches link millions of American and Canadian tourists, workers and students. Constructed in 1927 to honor more than a century of peace, prosperity and partnership, it sports webcams, a duty-free shop and foreign currency exchange, fast-food restaurants and toll-free bicycle and pedestrian lanes. LED lighting changes color for American and Canadian holidays, athletic events, Halloween and other celebrations. In springtime, the iconic structure blooms with thousands of flowers.
What would the Peace Bridge linking you and your sponsored child look like? Draw a picture or write a story.
Or, simply write a note to your sponsored child today to mark International Day of Friendship.