Yoga Gives Back (YGB) was founded in 2007 in Los Angeles with a core mission to engage the yoga community to help the poorest people in the country that gave birth to yoga. YGB is a grass roots organisation led by Los Angeles based documentary filmmaker Kayoko Mitsumatsu, with dedicated volunteers in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, San Francisco, Colorado and Charlotte. We are also growing to be a global community with representatives in London, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Costa Rica, Canada, and Bangalore. YGB fundraising events are held across the US and increasingly, throughout the world.
Inspired by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Muhammad Yunus’ revolutionary micro financing breakthrough, YGB started out supporting Grameen Foundation and its micro credit programmes in India which lend small loans to impoverished women who have no access to capital. In 2010, YGB developed “Sister Aid” to directly fund programmes for education and the economic empowerment of mothers, children and orphans. So far, YGB has selected, visited, and partnered with the successful Non Governmental Organisations NISHTHA in West Bengal and Deenabandhu in Karnataka.
With $25 a month, mothers can start their own businesses to start building sustainable livelihoods; children and orphans can go to school to reach their dreams.
By reaching out to yoga studios, YGB builds awareness through fundraising classes and events. Studio by studio, YGB communicates the reality of these women’s and children’s lives and invites the global yoga community to join in the campaign to help alleviate poverty in India.
Six billion dollars is spent on yoga in the U.S. alone each year. If a fraction of this can be redirected to help the poor in India, says Mitsumatsu, “YGB can make a difference. We can effect change. Our campaign message: For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life.”