Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Child of the Tsunami

Oct 2, 2006

When the tsunami swept across south Asia on 26 Dec 2004, it devastated many fishing villages along the south east coast of India. Uma Prajapati, living just miles from the shore in the universal township of Auroville near Pondicherry, gathered her young colleagues from her clothing company Upasana Design Studio to brainstorm how they could help.

The group conceived the idea for Tsunamika and offered it to the local fisherwomen to help them generate a new source of income.

Nearly 480 women from six villages took part in the Tsunamika training. Although 60 per cent of them had never threaded a needle before, around 150 women are now creating these little dolls from material left over from the Upasana studio.

In the process, the women have discovered far more than a livelihood – the project has given them trauma counselling, creative expression, self-esteem and a chance to become trainers themselves. As one of the women said, "Tsunami came for Tsunamika."

Funded initially by the NGO Concern Worldwide, Upasana guaranteed the women a monthly payment for their work – but insisted that the Tsunamikas were always gifted and never sold.

What makes Tsunamika unique is that she is freely given to whoever wants her. Unconditional giving is one her characteristics – a belief stemming from the work of the Indian spiritual teachers Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, who believed that trust and goodwill would replace money in economies of the future.

Taking a leap of faith, the Tsunamika team found that many people were inspired to help. In just one year, they have become self-sustaining. Now, ten voluntary ambassadors distribute the dolls all over the world through a network of love and friendship – with no price tags, advertisements or salaries involved.

"Tsunamika is a young girl with a life of her own and these ambassadors are her parents," explained Uma who toured Europe spreading Tsunamika's message in April. "Don't contribute unless you really feel for it. Tsunamika will bring the funds she needs and will bring her parents to support her in a new gift economy."

The Tsunamika team intends to spend their donations on developing the consciousness of all the people involved, not only the people in the villages affected by the tsunami, but also the people who receive Tsunamika. "We are exploring an integral method of economic development, sustainability, education, creativity and spiritual growth of society as a whole, not just one section of the society," said Uma.

Already almost half a million Tsunamikas have been made and Uma is aiming for a million. This is a clearly story that will run and run.

A Tsunamika book has been produced and is being translated into seven languages. It tells the tale of the daughter of the tsunami who has come to be a friend to those who suffered loss and now to people worldwide. And it conveys the extraordinary power of a little doll in South India that has turned a tragedy into an opportunity to support the poor, and give hope that we can live in a world where the joy of giving is what inspires us.

What you can do?

•Give children Tsunamika and tell them her story

•Unconditionally receive her and share her

•Use Tsunamika in creative ways

•Share who you are, send us a small note, picture, your thoughts or acts of compassion inspired by Tsunamika

• If you are interested in becoming a Tsunamika ambassador please write to umap@auroville.org.in

• If you want to send a donation please visit www.tsunamika.org

By Peter Lloyd


Blogger bathmate said...

its really good comments

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2:15 PM  
Blogger bathmate said...

its really good comments

nice posting for this site


2:23 PM  

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