Tsunami mascot stages a comeback

PUDUCHERRY, 17/09/2019: Auroville-based Upasana's gift-doll tsunamika to be mascot in campaign on ocean conservation. Special ArrangementPUDUCHERRY, 17/09/2019: Auroville-based Upasana’s gift-doll tsunamika to be mascot in campaign on ocean conservation. Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Auroville-based Upasana to launch a ‘Tsunamika Save Ocean Campaign’ on September 21

Remember tsunamika, the gift-doll that became a mascot of hope and belief in humanity and empowerment for people across the world in the aftermath of the killer tsunami of 2004?

The doll is back to catalyse another cause with its creator, the Auroville-based Upasana Integral Design Studio, set to launch a ‘Tsunamika Save Ocean Campaign’ on September 21 to raise awareness about the environment, ecology of oceans and the need to clean and conserve marine ecosystems.

The campaign will be rolled out with coastal clean-up initiatives near Auroville, a book launch and pledge campaign at EcoService and a movie screening at Town Hall. “We’ve planned it to be more of a sustaining movement rather than a one-off observance event,” said Upasana founder Uma Prajapatiwho conceived the idea of the tsunamika doll.

This time, tsunamika is the poster doll for the cause of ocean conservation through community engagement.

The activities during the campaign, strung around the theme, ‘Tsunamika: Ocean My Home’, will be focused on raising awareness and taking actions to conserve, protect and restore oceans locally and globally.

Upasana has asked the public to share a creative activity or idea on campaign launch date by posting on social media with the hashtag #TsunamikaSaveOcean.

The campaign comes against the backdrop of a relentless man-made onslaught on the oceans that kills over a million seabirds due to pollution and threatens food supply and changes marine food chains because of overfishing.

According to team Tsunamika at Upasana, approximately 80% of the pollution in the oceans comes from land, and coastal zones are especially vulnerable to pollutants. The biggest sources of pollution in the ocean are septic tanks, plastic waste, trash, oil spills, toxic waste, farms waste, and industrial waste. The waste is not only killing the fish but other sea animals too, and destroying the ecosystem of oceans at a rapid speed.

The campaign serves as a reminder that if oceans will die, mankind will die with them, because most of the oxygen that we breathe comes from ocean. The ocean houses 80% of the earth’s biodiversity in its depths, influences health, regulates climate change, provides renewable energy and medicines, and livelihood.

Upasana is hoping to generate global enthusiasm for the campaign close to the levels in the post-tsunami phase when over 5 million dolls travelled to more than 80 countries as a symbol of hope.

Gift economy

Back home in Auroville, the doll, which spawned a worldwide gift economy, helped hundreds of fisher women who lost their livelihood to overcome the trauma of a sudden and violent act of nature.

Uma Prajapati was seized of the desperate situation of communities while visiting coastal villages devastated by the tsunami. The project started with trauma counselling to fisher women in these villages. They were later trained by Ms. Prajapti and her team to make little dolls out of cloth bits, and waste from clothing manufacturing.

The doll-making project helped the women focus on building back their lives and, most importantly, to earn a living. As the story of Tsunamika reached many people around the world, several organisations, in order to help the coastal women, distributed them as gifts to their employees.

The dolls were sent from India to Japan during the tsunami in 2011 as a sign of solidarity. The dolls continue to be distributed all over the world as a gift that reminds people of hope and human unity, says Ms. Prajapati.