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Giving Back to the Source

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If you’ve ever felt a deep sense of appreciation for your post-savasana glow, here’s a way to express that gratitude.

India, the spiritual heart and birthplace of yoga also happens to be one of the lowest ranking countries when it comes to gender equality, according to a UN report. This translates to a lack of female representation in both parliament and the workforce at large due to lack of educational opportunities for many young Indian women.

In the year 2000, the United Nations set a goal for every child in every nation to have access to basic education at no charge. While progress has been made towards that goal, many millions of children remain uneducated, or are not able to continue their education, especially in rural areas. In india, where the education of women is not a cultural priority, many young women, still essentially children, are subjected to child labor or child marriage. The likelihood of this increases if the child is not in school.

Although this is a complex problem, Yoga Gives Back, an organization founded by Kayoko Mitsumatsu, aims to make a difference in the lives of India’s youth through various programs funded through the non-profit. Mitsumatsu learned of the concept of micro loans, and the difference they can make in developing countries, and especially for women in rural areas. “25 dollars can make a fundamental difference in somebody’s life in India. As a happy and healthy yoga practitioner, I realized that I could contribute a little to India’s poverty issues.”

Yoga Give Back started funding micro loans in 2007, and expanded their contribution to include Sister Aid programs, which offer micro loans to women in need as well as funding for education for orphans and young girls. These programs are offered in West Bengal, Karnataka, and Bangalore and are a product of YGB’s partnerships with Non Governmental Organizations based in those areas.

Three years ago, YGB increased their committed to the education of India’s poorest youth by initiating SHE, Scholarships for Higher Education, which targets boys and girls who show potential for success and a desire to make a difference, but do not have the financial means to continue schooling. These children are generally in high school, and SHE funding offers a five year pledge of support, enabling the recipients access to a secondary degree.

“Thank you Mother India” is Yoga Gives Back fundraising initiative that includes global events in 15 countries. It expresses a deep desire to return to India the blessing that yoga has brought to communities around the world.

Kalia Kelmenson

Kalia Kelmenson is a curator of wellbeing and has been in the health and wellness field for over two decades. She founded Maui Mind and Body to support women’s health and is the creator of Core Strength Balance. Kalia loves to explore the fascinating intersection of fitness and mind-body health, and to share inspiration for your wellness practices from the research emerging from this intriguing field.

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