A mini-doll’s decade of setting off waves of hope

Tsunamika to celebrate tenth birthday in style.  

Therapeutic clowning from Canada to a musical play as a tribute by a Finnish theatre group, a host of programmes will mark the 10th birthday celebrations of Auroville’s globe-trotting doll, the tsunamika.

Tsunamika, the miniature doll, was conceptualised by Auroville’s Upasana Design Studio in the wake of the tsunami of 2004 as a gift that would turn into a symbol of hope to those stricken by the tragedy. What started as a simple idea to engage women in tsunami-afflicted families around the Auroville bio-region in doll-making as a form of livelihood soon transformed into a fantastic story of post-trauma community rebuilding as well as a fine example of a gift economy that is wholly spurred by donations and where no doll is sold.

The tsunamika turns 10 on January 10, and several events have been planned at Auroville’s Bharat Nivas in celebration of a doll that has become a symbol of joy, hope and unconditional giving across the world.

“In scale, we have planned it to be an international event with a couple of overseas troupes coming down to perform in honour of tsunamika and the womenfolk associated with the project,” says Uma Prajapati, founder of Upasana. Photo exhibitions, workshops, art competition, food, handicraft stall, dance, storytelling sessions, live music and many more activities have been planned. A play from the National Theatre of Finland led by Liisa Isotalo will cap the celebrations.

For Upasana, the design studio founded in 1997, the havoc wrought by the tsunami in coastal hamlets became a trigger for focusing on the application of design for social welfare. And that was how the tsunamika story began as a special project.

To date, more than six million dolls have been made and distributed across 80 nations through a global network of countless volunteers. But, more than the numbers, the doll’s journey of a decade has been incredibly enriching by the intangible wealth of positive emotions she has evoked in far-flung recipients, says Ms. Uma.

The tsunamika story book has received UNESCO recognition and has been translated into German, Russian, Danish, French, Spanish and Tamil languages. Tamil Nadu State School Board has included the story in the school curriculum for sixth grade. The project is also a case study at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) of New Delhi, for Design and Social Responsibility.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 5:24:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/a-minidolls-decade-of-setting-off-waves-of-hope/article6727142.ece

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