The project started as a trauma counseling effort for the fisherwomen in February 2005, after the tsunami. The initial aim of the project was to help the women of the affected region, overcome the trauma they experienced, by getting them involved in some creative handicraft work which could channelize their energy in a constructive manner.
The raw material came from industrial waste and more than 600 women were taught to make these tiny dolls called ‘Tsunamika’. ‘Tsunamika’ runs on ‘Gift Economy’ – it is never sold, but given. The project runs on community support where people take dolls and contribute as per their capacity. They are gifts of love and friendship. Today, more than 5 million dolls are made and sent to over 80 countries. Tsunamika project has been given the ‘Award of Excellence’ by the Government of India and a special recognition by UNESCO. The doll is now a popular symbol of hope and has helped establish a strong emotional bond and identity among the makers and receivers. The project has evolved into a livelihood option for a large population of women in coastal villages, who receive income for every doll they make.