About Tsunamika

Mission: Healing and Transformation of human consciousness

(Scroll down to the end of page to view presentation in English)

Tsunamika is one of the many Tsunami-related projects of Auroville - a universal city in the making in south India, dedicated to the ideal of human unity.

The Tsunamika project has been conceived by Upasana Design Studio, a garment design unit in Auroville, and mobilised in the coastal villages of Auroville's bioregion. The project has the following agenda:
  • Use in post-disaster trauma counseling     
  • Livelihood generation
  • Women’s empowerment
  • Medium for education                              
  • Example of how ‘gift economy’ works
The project has focused on the fisherwomen who were traumatized by the Tsunami disaster. The initial aim of the project was to help the women overcome the trauma they experienced, by getting them involved in some creative handicraft work which could channel their energy in a constructive manner. For this purpose, 480 ladies from 6 coastal villages were given handicraft training to make a small doll using left-over fabric from Upasana's products. The project team then bought the completed dolls from the fisherwomen and began distributing them widely as gift items. The doll, known as Tsunamika, quickly became very popular, and soon helped establish a strong emotional bond and identity among the people who had made her, as well as among those who received her. Soon the project evolved into a livelihood option for nearly 180 ladies, who began receiving income for every doll they made. At the same time large numbers of people volunteered to distribute Tsunamika worldwide, and the entire project became a demonstration of “gift economy”. Within a period of just 18 months, with donations coming in from around the world, the project became self-sufficient to run on its own income.
Tsunamika has already inspired a number of business corporations to use her as their New Year gift. The project has also motivated school teachers to use her as a means for education, which is a newly emerging facet of the Tsunamika project. Read her story: Tsunamika story-book.



Tangible results in 120 months

480 ladies received handicraft training.

12 ladies have become leaders in their village.

Self sustained since 2006.

Currently around 100 ladies are involved in the project , earning an average of 1000 rupees per month. 

Created and gifted nearly 60,00,000 dolls.

Distribution network made up of volunteers in 80 countries.

Development of nearly 50 Tsunamika-associated products

Received “award of excellence” from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi.

Recognization from UNESCO.

Received national and international media coverage in print and on TV.

Celebrating her 10th birthday in 2015.


Intangible results
  • Helped heal the trauma experienced by the ladies, and within their families
  • Rebuilt confidence and self-respect for the women
  • Brought out leadership qualities in the women
  • Brought out organizational skills in the women
  • Demonstrated successfully the possibilities and joy of gift economy
  • Generated deep emotional bonding and love among a worldwide network of Tsunamika volunteers
  • Helped ‘design’ students to think differently, by applying their creativity for social development

About Upasana

Born in 1997 from a few inspired designers working under a tree, Upasana is a Design Studio in Auroville, India. Along with Smallsteps, the studio runs five more development projects around India.
While Upasana constantly plays host to visitors and volunteers, its aim has always remained the same: To create a space in which professionals and students from all around the world may come to realize their full creative potential, both in design and in life.
For more information about Upasana, or to learn about the studio's other projects, click here