16 million Americans practice Yoga and spend 6 billions dollars annually. Out of India’s population, 76% or 800 million people, live below the poverty line of $ 2.50 a day. Realizing this reality gap, Yoga Gives Back was created in Los Angeles in 2007, with a slogan “For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life”.
Their mission is two-fold. First, after learning about Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Dr. Muhammad Yunus’ revolutionary micro financing breakthrough, Yoga Gives Back decided to support micro credit programs in India that are working to end poverty by lending money to people who have no access to capital, those who are excluded from the banking and financial systems that most of us take for granted. With as little as a $25 loan, women in rural India can start and run profitable businesses, freed from the shackles of moneylenders who would keep them in an unending cycle of debt.
Second, by reaching out to yoga studios, Yoga Gives Back builds awareness via their fundraising classes. Studio by studio, they invite the Western yoga community to join in our campaign to help alleviate poverty in India. $6 billion dollars is spent on yoga in the U.S. each year. If a fraction of this can help the poor in India, we can make a difference. We can effect change.
Currently, YGB support proects in India through Grameen Foundation and NISHTHA, and continue to expand our support to various projects in India.