Etsy Shops for Japanese Earthquake Tsunami Victims

Guest Post

Etsy Shops for Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Victims
(Russian Artists Group Experience)
Story by Lovisetto

It was the 11th of March 2011. I woke in the morning, looked out of the window only to see that there was no sign of the sun in the sky.

“We have to wait a little bit longer for the spring to come this year,” – I mumbled and went down to the kitchen.

I am self-employed, so I can afford the luxury of sitting in front of the TV in the morning, sipping the fresh coffee and flipping through the TV channels. That’s how it all started for me.

There was only one topic discussed on the news that day: the national disaster in Japan. During the first ten minutes since I had switched on the TV I had seen the horrible scenes of the giant tsunami waves covering the ground and wiping away entire villages. The scenes, which probably all of you saw as well since they were on all the channels across the globe, felt like a bad dream, like the worst horror film ever, only it was real. There was an announcement about more than 300 people dead and another 10,000 disappeared.

On Saturday, March the 12th, I switched on the TV in the morning just to hear that the situation in Japan was getting worse: the number of tsunami and earthquake victims has grown rapidly, people in the tsunami affected areas were not having enough food, drinking water and other essentials.

Later that day, I was on the phone with a good friend of mine who is a musician and had been with her orchestra on a tour in Japan. She said that she had been in some areas affected by the tsunami and she could not believe that the beautiful cities and villages on the seaside were completely wiped away. I could hear her crying while saying this.

The next day, Sunday the 13th, I decided not to watch the news in the morning as I was scared that something bad happened in Japan over night. Instead, I ended up flipping the news channels in search for fresh news from Japan and then browsing through the Internet looking for the same topic articles. I was absolutely distracted and could not stop thinking about what was happening in Japan. It was not the tsunami, but the radiation leak that scared me the most.

Being born in the Soviet Union, the country that had survived the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, I was very well aware of the radiation danger. I personally knew the people who were involved in the liquidation process and those who lived in the radiation affected areas. Some of them had already died of cancer.

I decided to do something to help people in Japan. But, I did not know how. I knew that from the first day of the Japan disaster other Etsy artisans made treasuries to showcase the Japanese shops, but for me, it was not enough!

I decided to sell some of my necklaces and donate the money to the Red Cross charity organisation in Japan. I shared my ideas with my colleagues from the Russian Artist team. I proposed we get involved in the fundraising process as a team and start making treasuries for charity. I was surprised by how popular my post was. Till the end of the day we were not doing anything but discussing how the fundraising process should be organized.

At the beginning, the idea was not entirely supported by the team members. Some people had already donated the money for Japan and saw no point in donating again as a group through their art. Others did not trust charities, accusing them of spending a great percentage of the donation on their administrative needs.*********

Even though I understood why people were thinking this way, I was quite confident that our efforts could make a difference. Anyway, by the end of the day there were 10 of us who had declared that we were ready to start fund raising for Japan by donating our items. We also joined the Artist Aid group on Etsy where we found many like-minded artisans who were already selling and donating their art for charity.