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Tsunamika – a gift from South India

August 9, 2011

These dolls are “tsunamika” – gifts to citizens of Ishinomaki from the Auroville community in south India.

The earthquake off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra in December 2004 caused an enormous tsunami, which led to the loss of over 220,000 lives throughout the region, including southern India.

7 years later, the community of Auroville heard about the tsunami which hit northeast Japan in March 2011. “Having overcome the tsunami ourselves, we are alive here today. These small dolls are a living symbol of that. As we were able to become independent, we also believe that you will be able to recover,” is the message sent from India to Japan.

Auroville is in a region where people live through the bounties of the ocean, with many fishing villages in the surrounds. In 2004, however, that ocean overcame the villages, and fishermen lost their jobs.The Upasana Design Studio of Auroville launched the Tsunamika project, training nearly 480 fisherwomen from 6 villages, and now 180 women are creating these Tsunamika from from fabrics left over from other creative works in Upasana. Rather than throwing this leftover fabric out, the community is reusing the material to create new beauty and life. Each tsunamika is carefully hand-made.

Through creating these tsunamika, the women of the fishing villages are able to regain their livelihoods, and millions of connections are made as the tsunamika are gifted to people around the world.

When peace Boat visited the port of Kochin in India in April and May in 2011, many tsunamika were brought to the ship to be given to survivors of the tsunami which hit Japan this year. Thanks to Peace Boat’s volunteers, these tsunamika have now reached the hands of the community in Ishinomaki.

People from all over the world have been supporting Japan in the face of the March 11 disaster, including from communities such as the Tsunamika creators who have themselves suffered the effects of natural disasters. It is important for us to remember these connections, and to consider what we can do when other countries are in times of need. For now, we will continue to work for the recovery of northeast Japan, and to create a better and more sustainable society. The tsunamika dolls are teaching us the importance of this, and reminding us of the solidarity from people all over the world. Thank you to everyone at Auroville in India!!

Visit the tsunamika website for more information about the project, the dolls, and how to participate in the project.


A living symbol

She is a symbol, a living symbol with her own life.
As her name suggests, she is a child of tsunami;
The tsunami that changed the lives of millions.
She is the memory of Tsunami…

She has been hand-made by women,
The women who live by the ocean,
The women whose lives changed forever after the tsunami,
The women who are exploring a new way of living,
The women who are empowering themselves.

Tsunamika is an expression of their creative fire;
Through Tsunamika they enter a new & wider world.
She is made out of bits and pieces of cloth
Left over from other works;
Made from what is known as waste.

There is nothing called waste in Nature,
Everything has its creative role.
Everything can be living & beautiful,
As Tsunamika is …

She is a living message,
A message of a new way of living
In which Life is respected.
A message of the Oneness of Life
In which love has a place.

A message of the sacredness of life
In which we can celebrate, together.
And life can be very simple
Like Tsunamika is.

She is our beloved.
She has touched many lives.
Now, she is here.
With you!

Born in Auroville