The tsunami that smashed into the small southeastern Indian coastal fishing village of Killai on December 26, 2004, destroyed an already fragile community—washing away homes and killing countless family members. Nearly 430,000 people here lost their lives. The huge wave also crushed the local fishing industry, the only livelihood most residents had ever known.

Today, as part of a long-term reconstruction effort, a group of village women, most in their 20s, have developed their own small business“fattening” mud crabs and selling them at the local market. The project generates a steady income of US$75 a month per member. For many, it’s their first job. The women receive support from the Community Collective Society for Integrated Development (CCFID), a local NGO that provides basic entrepreneurial and management training and small loans to help groups in need to begin businesses.

“These young women who lost everything now have something of their own,” explains Meenal Patole, Advisor for New Initiatives at CCFID. “It’s a real change, and it’s transforming their lives.” Nokia, as well as the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation and Unocal, all working with IYF, provide critical funding for the Tsunami Reconstruction Initiative, which includes this project in India and similar efforts in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The goal is to rebuild the livelihoods of 9,800 young people across these tsunami-affected countries.