Tsunamika Thrives


She is a child of the tsunami that devastated the coast of Tamil Nadu on 26 December 2004. She is made up of bits and pieces of leftover cloth and thread. She is a living symbol of hope and unconditional love. Her name is Tsunamika.

Tsunamika was born in February 2005 during a handicraft workshop held by the Upasana Design Studio to help teach lifelong skills to the fisherwomen in 7 of the 19 villages (comprising 5,000 families and 11,000 people) in and around Auroville, an intentional community on the coast of Tamil Nadu, that were affected by the tsunami.

Today, she provides an income for over 180 fisherwomen, who earn between Rs. 750 to 2,500 (U.S.$ 17 to 56) – women who have gained confidence, self-respect, leadership skills, and freedom; women who have an intense relationship with Tsunamika and a deep connection to the people who receive her.

Tsunamika now comes in several guises – pin, hair clip, book mark, key chain, pencil decoration, paper clip, and rakhi. She is used by teachers, school children, NGOs and corporations in 50 countries. But she is never sold.

Tsunamika is a gift, and a beautiful example of the gift economy in action. The thousands of people who are touched by her volunteer their time and talents, give donations to keep the project going, find innovative ways to use her, and tell her story.


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