So a well-known activist/journalist in Yemen was kidnapped in Sana’a the other day and everyone is quite upset because he is a much needed voice from Yemen to raise awareness for what’s currently happening in his country. Also, he’s just a great dad. He dances in the car with his kids and plays them movies on his phone when the bombs start falling. Aaaaand now he’s not there to do any of that.

So! We have a #FreeHisham hashtag going. Please check it out, Tweet along, and most importantly share news about Yemen whenever you can. Depending on what country you live in, contact your representatives in the government. Or find the charities there helping out and donate. There’s a lot we can do while we wait for him to get home. Hopefully, it won’t be long, but activists have been held for a long time before… up to 6 months or a year.

I’ve started an origami crane project. Cranes in Japan are a symbol of good fortune and hope. Hisham and Yemen need both. Origami cranes can often be found in places that need healing, such as a hospital or shelters. From now until he is released, I will be folding a paper crane each day. According to Japanese legend, if you fold 1000 paper cranes then your wish will come true. Hopefully I won’t need to fold that many!

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Since starting my paper cranes for Yemen only a couple days ago, I discovered that origami can actually do something useful for people.

Here is how one refugee from Syria is using origami at a refugee camp:

Fadi Al Wali was a university student studying commerce, economics and accounting before he fled Dara’a October 2013. While at university in Damascus, he learned origami through his professor, and with the help of his friends, he started volunteering at a center for special needs children teaching origami and life skills workshops. 

Now at Za’atari refugee camp, Fadi is implementing what he’s learned form his teacher in Syria, to teach special needs children and other children origami. He believes origami is a great way for children to break the fear and shyness barriers, and is a creative way to learn new mental skills. Fadi’s goal while at Za’atari is to build the biggest origami in the world to enter in the Guinness Book of Records.

Fadi Al Wali Fled Syria in 2013 with 16 members of his family along with his pregnant wife, his 9 siblings and his 118-year old grandfather. They made it through the Syrian Jordanian border after a treacherous journey of three days and 14-hour walk across the desert to reach safety.

Origami can also be used for making a temporary shelter, which can be used by the homeless or people who lose their homes due to disaster. From Huffington Post: Origami-Inspired Personal Shelter Provides A Quick Solution For Homeless. Along that train of thought, did you know that origami can bee applied to SCIENCE inventions? From Popular Science:

The mathematical processes that underlie origami are quite complex, and the same analytical techniques and computer models that allow one to fold a piece of paper into an inordinate variety of shapes can be used to solve a wide array of vexing design problems.

Origami can be seen in mirrors and solar panels in space, heart stents, and designing airbags.

Robert Lang sums it up best. “If you look up into space, or the operating room, you’re likely to see origami,” Land said. “And it may one day save a life.”