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Children of Tsunami: Rebuilding the Future
This project covers four countries that fall into two sub-regions, as follows:
-South Asia: India and Sri Lanka
- Southeast Asia: Indonesia and Thailand

A regional communications initiative tracking how ordinary people rebuild lives and livelihoods after the Asian Tsunami Disaster

The Children of Tsunami media project tracks how families affected by the Asian Tsunami are returning to normalcy. From February to December 2005, we will make monthly visits to two chosen families each in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand -- countries hardest hit. Based on our filming and interactions, we will produce television, video and web stories. Our main focus will be on eight children, but we will also cover their extended families and communities.

Disaster recovery: Going beyond headlines

The Asian tsunami disaster dominated every media organisation’s news coverage at the turn of the year. With over 300,000 people killed or missing and millions displaced in a dozen countries on the Indian Ocean rim, the event was one of the worst disasters of all time.

Much of the media coverage was at news and current affairs level, focusing on the extent of loss and damage and the massive emergency needs. After a while, the story did not attract as much coverage or attention.

But the story is far from over for millions of affected people and their families. Long after journalists and television cameras have departed, children, women and men will be struggling to recover from the disaster. In hundreds of localities that were hit by the tsunami, local people are slowly coming to terms with the impact, and rebuilding their disrupted lives, livelihoods and futures.

We shall be led by children...

Children of Tsunami regional communications initiative aims to capture how affected families are rebuilding and returning to normalcy. To personalise the mass of statistics, aid pledges and recovery plans, we will look at how all this affects eight children, their immediate families and communities.

From February to December 2005, we will make monthly visits to two chosen families each in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand -- countries hardest hit. Based on our filming and interactions, we will produce television programmes and web-based updates.

We will find out what progress - if any - has been made, and record impressions of the children and family members. By following the stories of our eight children we will be able to find out answers to these and other questions:

* How are individuals coping with the losses and grief?
* What are the unmet needs and unresolved issues in recovery?
* Are the pledges of aid and debt relief really working?
* What happens to the human rights of affected persons?
* How and where can individuals and aid donor countries influence a more systematic and equitable approach to rebuilding?



Our approach: child-centred story telling


Although our stories will be centred around eight children, our media products will also cover the experiences of their families and  communities. The stories will be told against the backdrop of relief and rebuilding efforts and processes being carried out by  governments, aid workers and NGOs.

The challenge to our journalists and film-makers is to stay focused on the children while taking note of what’s going on in the background.

Local film-makers capturing local realities


Children of Tsunami is a project of TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP), a non-profit regional media organisation that uses television, video and web to promote sustainable development and social justice. More information at: www.tveap.org

For Children of Tsunami, TVE Asia Pacific has commissioned teams of accomplished TV journalists and film-makers, all locally based, and all sharing a deep interest in amplifying local voices to the Global Village. We are also working with local, national, regional and global organisations whose information and views are linked to the website.

All team members are participating in this non-profit venture with minimal billing for their services.

Meet the Children of Tsunami...

They have never met each other. Some have never travelled beyond their village.

They all belong to statistically average families in their localities.

Five girls and three boys:  ages ranging from 8 to 16 years. All are living in coastal areas of India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Each family was hit by the Asian tsunami in one way or another.

Now, as they cope with personal tragedy and the many challenges of rebuilding, the Children of Tsunami let us into their lives and tell us their stories.

Tamil Nadu state, India

Youngest in his family, Selvam, 13, lost his mother who used to sell fish at the village market in Muzhukkuthurai, in Cuddalore District. She was the sole bread-winner in a family where the father is addicted to alcohol and disinterested in the children. The tsunami destroyed their house and ruined the family’s fishing boat and nets. They now live in a temporary shelter, with the elder brother turning brea

 d-winner and head of family. He makes sure Selvam continues his schooling -- no other sibling studied beyond fifth grade. Selvam occasionally thinks of his mother and talks about what happens to people who reach heaven after death.

Mala, 11, is the eldest in her family of four children and dropped out of school last year after completing the sixth grade. The tsunami spared her house in Kottaikkadu village in Kancheepuram District, but her fisherman fath

 er was nearly drowned: he survived with injuries. His fishing boat and gear were lost. Hesitantly, they returned to their house and started raising their heads. Being classed as lower castes or ‘dalits’, the village has been left out of relief support. Mala’s family has received nothing - for now, her father has to return to the sea and mother work as a labourer to keep the home fires burning. She has a younger sister and two younger brothers.

Aceh Province, Indonesia

Before the tsunami disrupted her young life, Putri, 8, was in grade two of elementary school in the Lampaya village in Lhok Nga district in Indonesia’s Aceh Province. She is the youngest in her family. Her father worked in a cement factory - one of the biggest industries in Aceh. The tsunami killed an elder sister, destroyed their home and village and flattened the father’s workplace. Now living in a temporary shelter, she attends an emergency school in the morning and studies the Al-Quran in the afternoon. Putri’s family is planning to return to their village once the barrack being built by the government is completed.
When the big wave came, Yenni, 15, tried to hold on to her sister’s hand. But they were separated, and the sister was never to be seen again. The family, based in Meulaboh in Indonesia’s Aceh Province, lost two girls, as well as their home and all their belongings. Yenni’s father ran a motorcar repair shop where men and boys of the extended family worked. With everything lost to the waves, they have to start all over again. Yenni attends emergency school, but progress is slow as most teachers were also killed. Amidst incredible hardships, Yenni remains optimistic.

Southern and Eastern Provinces, Sri Lanka

Heshani, 13, excels in creative writing in which she'd won certificates and awards -- all of which were washed away, with all her school books and everything else her family owned. Their house, in Suduwella in Sri Lanka’s southern district of Matara, was badly damaged. Now living in the house of a friend, they are grateful that no family member was lost to the tsunami. Her father cannot immediately get back to fishing without his boat and gear. For now, the family relies on the mother's income from spinning coir ropes. Heshani made her first return to the beach - hesitantly - with our film crew in late February. It will take a long while for her to come to terms with the sea.
Thilainathan Theeban, 14, used to like mathematics, cricket and movies and enjoyed school, but the tsunami changed all that overnight. It killed his mother and a younger brother, destroyed their house and wrecked their father's fishing boat. They now live in a temporary shelter in Karaithivu, in Ampara district in eastern Sri Lanka. With his father yet to pick up his shattered livelihood, Theeban decided to stop schooling - now works as an apprentice at a tractor repair garage owned by a family friend. Their grandmother is struggling to take care of Theeban and two surviving younger brothers, but life at the camp is hard. The father and grandmother are both concerned that this is no place for children to grow up.

Phang Nga district, Thailand

Jantakarn Thep-Chuay (better known by nickname Beam) is only 8 years and does not fully understand why her father is not coming home after the tsunami. Last seen, he was at a construction site close to the beach in Khao Lak in the southern district of Phang Nga. His body has still not been identified. Their house, a safe distance inland, was not affected, but Beam's mother Sumontha now has to keep hostile in-laws at bay even as she looks after Beam and a younger brother, not yet two. As her school was destroyed, Beam now attends a temporary school which will soon be replaced by a massive "tsunami school". Beam misses her father enormously, and remarks at every dinner that "food is not at all delicious without Daddy."
Although Sanan, Kla-Thalae (nicknamed Bao), now 16, has been fishing since he was 12, he can no longer trust the sea. He lost both his parents to the tsunami, and is now in the care of his grandparents. Known locally as "sea gypsies", their extended family was based at Koh Pratong Island in Phang Nga district, where they used  to catch fish, crabs and squid. With houses, school and fishing craft destroyed, they have taken temporary shelter on the mainland, but hope to return to their island as soon as possible. For now, younger brother Dum attends a nearby school, while Bao and grandparents are adjusting to their new roles.

Watch their stories unfold in the coming months.

Share the sorrows and joys of their families as they take the long road to recovery.

Be part of Children of Tsunami communications initiative.

Broadcast Children of Tsunami     
Monthly Video Reports

Children of Tsunami will have a series of products intended for broadcast television.

A main TV output is Children of Tsunami - Monthly Video Reports. From February to December 2005, a 5-minute video report will be produced about each child/family every month, offering highlights of their road to recovery after the Tsunami.

Monthly Video Reports are branded by the first name of each child. There are 8 video reports per month, for 11 months. Each month’s reports will be released by the middle of the following month. They come ready-made for broadcast in stand alone format, but may also be strung together with minimal editing.

Monthly Video Reports are in English, produced and post-produced to international broadcast standards. They are available in:

*  Broadcast masters (PAL) in Betacam SP, DV Cam or MiniDV

* With texted visuals and fully mixed sound tracks for broadcasting in English

* With textless (or "clean picture") visuals and separate sound tracks (one for music and effects and the other carrying narration) that easily supports versioning into other languages

Children of Tsunami Monthly Video Reports are being released with no copyright restrictions, and available without a license fee. They are available to cable, terrestrial and satellite broadcasters in any part of the world on a non-exclusive basis for any number of broadcasts. Broadcasters are also allowed to version these programmes into local languages at their cost.

TV broadcasters in middle and high income countries will be asked to cover the cost of duplicating master tapes and courier dispatch. These will be invoices before dispatch.

For information please contact:
Nalaka Gunawardene,
Regional Director - TVE Asia Pacific
212/12, Nawala Road, Nawala, Sri Lanka.

Email: <nalaka@tveap.org>        

TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP) is registered in Sri Lanka as a guarantee (non-profit-making) organisation and works across the entire Asia Pacific region. It uses television, video and online media to promote sustainable d
evelopment and social justice. By producing editorially independent media products, and distributing them to broadcast and narrowcast users, the organisation promotes informed discussion and debate on key issues and concerns. TVEAP is governed by an international Board of Directors, and supported by donor and corporate funding.   

Previews on www.childrenoftsunami.info

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