At the Pinkathon that was held recently, a refreshing change welcomed the runners of Hyderabad at the finishing line. Instead of medals that are usually awarded to each participant, an adorable looking doll — Tsunamika — was presented this time.
The name itself gives a brief idea about the dolls’ roots, and the Tsunamika project could easily be called the most successful welfare projects that India has seen. It was started by Uma Prajapati as part of Auroville’s many projects that focus on rehabilitating women affected by the 2004 Tsunami.
Uma explains, “I was wondering what I could do to help, other than just cleaning the debris, and then I came up with this idea of gathering displaced fisherwomen from seven villages to make these dolls.”
Uma says that she wanted to focus on the women of this community because the men sought comfort in alcohol, and the women were left with nothing. “It was difficult to get them together in the beginning because they were feeling hopeless. After a lot of counselling, within just a year, the strength went up to 480 women,” says Uma.
Organisations such as Pinkathon purchase the dolls and pay only what they deem fit. However, the fisherwomen who make the dolls get a fixed amount of income every month.
This is the first time something like this has happened in Hyderabad, but the practice of giving out the dolls started at the Delhi Marathon last year.
“I never found medals for marathons meaningful. We wanted to do something different instead and we chose to give out the Tsunamika dolls because the project is in line with what Pinkathon stands for — ‘Upliftment of women’,” says Milind Soman, one of the founders of Pinkathon.