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Origami Volunteering Project, a group of dedicated UCL volunteers, have been going into UCLH and Moorfields Hospital to run creative projects. What do they have in common? A passion for all things origami!

As they wait for participants to show up in the hospital’s recreation room, the volunteers pour over their origami book, deciding which shapes they’re going to demonstrate today. After a short conversation over whether an origami T-rex will be too difficult for the participants or not, they begin with stars and hearts. Colourful paper is spread out across the table, and two eager participants appear, ready to get creative.

As children and volunteers alike get more absorbed in their origami, more appear: curious adults and shy children. Every single one of them is attracted to the concentration and wonder of the people seated at the table, and the absorption in this relaxing, hands-on activity is a welcome activity since it helps impatient children pass time while they wait to be called to the doctor’s office.

Notably, one of the children at our origami session is extremely outgoing, and visits the table both before and after his appointment. He plays us some music, and does several origami folds with deep interest. Finally, he boldly offers to dance to a Michael Jackson song of his audience’s choosing (side note: he might be related to him!), and he finally settles on ‘Smooth Criminal.’ The table in the corner, littered with origami roses and boxes is suddenly transformed into a stage for this impromptu young star. Several people watch delightedly from afar as he dazzles volunteers, making this the happiest corner in the hospital.

Many of the volunteers tell me that they’ve been doing origami since their childhood, and most of them found out about the project through the UCL Origami Society. Despite this, they’re keen to help complete beginners get involved, and they take the participants step-by-step through the process of making an eight-point star. They even invite me to join in with making an origami heart, though the end result shows that I still have a bit of catching up to do!

Written by Anoushka Gandhi and Josephine Mizen - UCL Photojournalists.

You can find out more about Origami Project, or browse other Student-Led Projects on our Project Directory. Have you ever thought of starting your own?

You can also browse other volunteering roles in hospitals, or with children on our Volunteering Directory.