Some of you might remember Tatjana Buisson from when she launched her Postick Kickstarter campaign, back in 2012. She has a nice little pet project called Postcard Happiness, focused on bringing smiles to those who need them, via postcards. Tatjana tells the story of Postcard Happiness and explains what it is all about:
I spent three years living in Barcelona from 2006–2009. The distance from friends and family triggered my passion for postcards. I loved walking around the city taking pictures with my little digital camera (pre-instagram). I’d print out the the pictures I’d taken with specific people in mind, stick them on a piece of paper and send them to friends and family as postcards. I also liked to illustrate things I saw that I knew friends would love and I’d send my illustrations as postcards too.
During that time I discovered Postcrossing and started posting postcards to people around the globe. I loved the exchange and I loved how genuinely happy every postcard I received made me.
At the time a friend of mine was diagnosed as bi-polar and she was going through a very challenging time back in South Africa. I felt helpless living so far away because I knew that she was feeling alone but in my heart she wasn’t alone. I started sending her regular postcards of things that I thought might lift her spirits. It wasn’t so much the postcard itself as the reminder that I was thinking of her, that she wasn’t alone, that she was important to me.
I thought very little of it and years later I moved back to South Africa. It was only when I bumped into my friend’s mother and she explained how much of an impact those postcards had had on her daughter that I understood the power of a postcard.
I knew that there were hundreds of thousands of postcard-friendly people sending postcards to random strangers via Postcrossing and I saw that there was an untapped potential in the combination of these wonderful postcard-enthusiasts and the hundreds of thousands of people who are going through a rough time… People who just need to be reminded that they’re not alone. That even strangers care about their recovery or their achievement.
I had had the idea for ages and finally launched it with my father as the first postcard recipient. He had had a stroke in 2011 and a year later I was so proud of him for his courage and determination to become independent and self-sufficient. He had worked hard to stay positive and he did not let anyone feel sorry for him because he didn’t feel sorry for himself. I felt that he deserved recognition from me and from anyone else who felt like sending him words of encouragement.
The postcards he received were genuinely heartwarming. People who didn’t know me or my father sent him the kindest messages. He phoned me in tears saying that he didn’t know what I had done or who these people were but that he was so grateful. Strangers were encouraging him to keep it up and their messages were genuine and loving. A lot of them came from a place of knowing. People who had experienced similar things or who had seen loved ones experience something similar.
Since then, I’ve kept the initiative going with friends and strangers who send me stories of loved ones who could do with a little postcard happiness. The project has consistently continued at a consistent pace because I’ve started my own little business with Postick and my illustrated cards which has kept me incredibly busy but I intend to put some dedicated time aside to get the project rolling at the capacity that I envisioned for it. I dream of connecting the initiative to schools and larger institutions with the capacity to make a massive impact on the recipients.
I recently met with a lady I added to the project late last year, Liana. She had been traumatized by an assault at her ice cream store and I added her to the project because I had heard that she had been dramatically shaken by the incident. When I saw her months later she told me that she had received over 70 postcards from all over the world. Korea, Japan, Germany, Holland, the US, France, Australia… She told me that the postcards had restored her faith in humankind. That she saw that there are a lot of good people out there.
I believe this project has the potential to heal both the postcard senders and the recipients. So many of us want to do something good but we don’t have the time or the resources to get heavily involved in massive initiatives. Here’s a tangible, genuine and powerful initiative that enables us to do good in our own capacity. I underestimated the potential that lies in a little postcard. It has the potential to connect strangers in a beautiful and uncomplicated manner. It has the potential to make someone’s day. And the beauty of a postcard is that it lasts for as long as you want it to. It can be a daily reminder on someone’s wall.
Ready to spread a little bit of postcard happiness? Grab a postcard and head over to Tatjana’s website!
To stay on top of new requests for postcards, feel free to follow the Postcard Happiness Facebook page as well :)