They have never met each other. Some have never travelled beyond their native village. They all belong to statistically average families in their communities.
Five girls and three boys -- aged 8 to 16. Living in coastal areas of India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Each family hit by the Asian Tsunami 2004.
|“This is an extraordinary media initiative that deserves the attention and support of everybody who cares for what happens after the network cameras departed.”|
- Sir Arthur C Clarke, inventor of the communications satellite
|“In any natural disaster, Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘last person’ tends to be a child and forgotten in the ehabilitation process. I do feel that portraying the travails of such young persons over time will drive home the message that everyone counts.”|
- Shabana Azmi, leading Indian actor and activist
Now, as they cope with many challenges of rebuilding lives and livelihoods, the Children of Tsunami tell us their stories of anguish and survival, courage and resilience.
Join us -- and let us share their journey.
This is the open and warm invitation that TVE Asia Pacific has just extended to television broadcasters, educational institutions, private sector companies and civil society partners as its major response to the Asian Tsunami disaster.
Children of Tsunami: Rebuilding the Future is a multi-country, multi-media regional initiative that tells local stories to a global audience.
It uses television, video and web outlets to track how families affected by the Asian Tsunami are rebuilding their lives, livelihoods and homes.
From February to December 2005, TV journalists commissioned by TVE Asia Pacific will make monthly visits to two chosen families each in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand -- countries hardest hit by the tsunami. Based on their location filming and investigations, monthly stories will be produced and released for broadcast, educational and online distribution.
“Our main focus will be on eight children, who will lead us month after month, but we will also cover their extended families and communities,” says TVE Asia Pacific Director Nalaka Gunawardene, originator of the concept. “Using their specific experiences, we will document how recovery support is reaching affected people across Asia.”
He adds: “We are invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s simple test for the effectiveness of any development activity: find out how it affects the last man, woman and child.”
Within a month of the tsunami disaster, TVE Asia Pacific had identified and commissioned locally based film-maker teams in each country. They were given clear guidelines on how to identify participating families and to film with them with sensitivity and empathy.
The production effort is locally managed and headed by internationally experienced television film-makers: Satya Sivaraman (India), Joe Yaggi (Indonesia), Suren de Silva (Sri Lanka) and Pipope Panitchpakdi (Thailand).
They work closely with TVE Asia Pacific’s regional production team. It includes Bruce Moir, Supervising Producer, a senior film and television professional from Australia and Manori Wijesekera, production manager. Nalaka Gunawardene serves as executive producer and editor in chief.
Children of Tsunami benefits from the goodwill, contacts and support of a large number of local, national, regional and global partner organisations. NGOs, advocacy organisations, private foundations and international charities have joined hands.
Global and regional partners include HelpAge International, Novib - Oxfam Netherlands, Panos South Asia, Centre for Environment Education and the Arthur C Clarke Foundation.
Nationally, support has come from leading groups such as Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka, Walhi in Indonesia and the Nation Media Group in Thailand.
TVE Asia Pacific has decided to offer all media products free of license fee to broadcasters, as well as educational and civil society groups.
It has also started building a constituency around the story, called ‘Friends of Children of Tsunami’ who will stay engaged with not only the media products, but the participating families as well.
The eight families are participating in this project with informed consent, and with no material benefits for themselves. This project does not seek to raise money for specific individuals or families; however, any offers of support will be directed to local NGOs/charities who are best positioned to distribute it to tsunami affected communities.
How to access Children of Tsunami products
There will be 8 Monthly Video Reports (5 mins x 8) every month, produced to international broadcast standard, providing an update on each child/family. These can be delivered monthly to interested broadcasters on Betacam SP, DVCam or MiniDV, without a license fee or copyright restrictions. For broadcast terms and conditions, contact: sales AT tveap.org
For educational and civil society use, copies are available on video tape and DVD. The dedicated website also streams and archives monthly video reports, along with more information, analysis, photographs and links. It also provides options of how individuals and organisations can become a ‘Friend of Children of Tsunami’.
For details, visit website at: www.childrenoftsunami.info