For those of you who haven't heard, Yoga Gives Back (YGB) is a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for women and children in India to offer vocational training and to lend money through micro credit programs so our sisters may start their own businesses. This is a way for the US yoga community, who generates six billion dollars each year, to give back to the country that birthed yoga itself.
Through YGB's global campaign, Thank You Mother India, you can develop your own personal relationship with the organization by either becoming a sponsor or hosting a class at your yoga studio, if you are an instructor. Becoming a sponsor does not require you to be any way involved in the yoga community, you simply fundraise in any way you'd like. Both methods are excellent ways to lend your hand to our struggling sisters in India.
Any gesture, large or small, makes a huge difference in the end. If you aren't sure either of these methods are right for you but you'd still like to be involved, any kind of donation you can offer is greatly welcomed.
I sat down with YGB Co-Founder and President Kayoko Mitsumatsu who explained to us a little more of what she does at at YGB and what the organization does for the world.
Q1. Why did you start YGB's "Thank You Mother India" global campaign?
A. YGB's mission is "to Mobilize the global yoga community to empower women to build sustainable livelihoods". Therefore, our campaign effort has been to invite as many yoga studios in the word as possible to join in our campaign by hosting an event to raise awareness and funds. In 2010, YGB Ambassador and Board Member Jorgen Christiansson (www.omkar108.com) and Mahamondo.com in Los Angeles hosted a fundraising event "Thank You Mother India" for YGB, which raised $3000 with over 70 attendants, with yoga class, video presentation, Indian lunch and Raffle. Based on this success, we decided to make "Thank You Mother India" as YGB's annual global event in the following year, 2011. We picked one day in September and invited all the yoga studios in the world to join this campaign by hosting just one class on that day. UK's Yoga Magazine became a media sponsor and helped us to reach out to the global yoga community. As a result of this focused global event "Thank You Mother India", more than 50 studios joined in the first year and over 100 studios from 17 countries participated last year, raising over $45,000!
Please see these successful past events reports here: www.yogagivesback.org/tymi/archives. It has been very inspiring to see this kind of growth in the global yoga community's support for our campaign to help more mothers and children in India. We are very excited also to have more YGB's ambassadors and local representatives, as our geographical outreach continues to grow. (www.yogagiveback.org/ambassadors)
This year in 2013, we are inviting yoga studios and communities in the world to host just ONE event between Sep 1 and December 31st. We hope many more studios will join us before the end of 2013, to make a difference together. We already have a great list of yoga studios and teachers from all over the world hosting or registering in this year's campaign. Please see the list of these events at www.yogagivesback.org/tymi/events
Q2: If you could say anything to those considering being part of the campaign, what would you say?
A: If you feel blessed with the gift of yoga, this is a great opportunity to express that gratitude and give back to India where yoga is from. Over 75% of the population still live under $2 a day in India, while $ 6 billion is generated in the yoga industry every year in the US alone. Yoga Gives Back has proven that "For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life". Indeed, it takes about $25 for an impoverished mother to start her own business, and a disadvantaged child to go to school to reach their dreams. All you need to do is host one yoga class before December 31st. We invite many yoga teachers and communities of Jala Clothing network in the US and around the world to come together!
Please register today at www.yogagivesback.org/tymi.
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