Time to Give Back: Liforme + YGB Support India During the COVID-19 Crisis
As the COVID-19 pandemic surges in India, Liforme is focusing our giving back efforts in support of our official charity partner, Yoga Gives Back. Working with YGB’s established NGO partners on the ground, we are committed to helping impoverished families affected by the pandemic.
Liforme is proud to support our longtime partner, Yoga Gives Back, an inspirational non-profit founded by Kayoko Mitsumatsu to channel some of the abundance many global yogis enjoy to women and children in India, the homeland of yoga.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, YGB’s philanthropic efforts were focused on sponsoring microloans and providing scholarships for children and young adults. The microloan program helped women finance cottage businesses to support their families and lift themselves out of poverty. Working with local NGOs, YGB also supported mothers and funded education for orphans and other young people, particularly girls, who could not otherwise afford to go to school.
Crisis in India
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the root causes of poverty in India, making the lives of vulnerable women and children even more difficult. As family economic situations have worsened, girls are more likely than ever to be forced to leave school. Child marriages and human trafficking have increased while many families do not have access to adequate nutrition.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis in the last year, YGB has temporarily shifted their priority from microloans to providing supplemental food to over 500 families of its scholarship students. Starvation is a very real concern since COVID lockdowns have limited the incomes of these already struggling families. Working with NISHTHA in West Bengal, YGB has provided them with extra food and educational materials so that their daughters can continue their schooling if possible. They are also providing over 700 women with sanitary supplies.
Several years ago, Yoga Gives Back began to document the journeys of young women who benefitted from their SHE (Scholarship for Higher Education) grant program, including Sanuyara, from a village in West Bengal. Although her male relatives and others in her community were opposed to her attending school, even going so far as to beat her for it, she and her mother persevered and she completed college with support from YGB.
After college, Sanuyara got a job in sales at a wellness company. She was able to earn money for herself and she felt empowered to help other girls with similar challenges. She broadened her worldview by working in a city and travelling internationally. Although COVID has affected the sales at her company, Sanuyara is still doing well and even has savings to help her family through this difficult time. Sanuyara’s story shows how getting an education is a path to greater financial and social independence for women in India, providing them with a safety net that many do not have.
Liforme Gives Back
During this crisis, Liforme is focusing our charitable giving on India by supporting Yoga Gives Back with a $5 donation for every order on Liforme.com (except for the mats that are affiliated with our other charity campaigns).
Five U.S. dollars is the equivalent of 370 Indian rupees, which is half a day’s salary for an average Indian worker. This amount has a big impact on the families YGB is supporting. It can keep a young girl in elementary school for 12 weeks or a teenager in high school or college for 19 days, protecting them from forced marriage or labour. It can also provide a meal for a family of seven or a one-month supply of sanitary products for a woman.
In a recent video update, Yoga Gives Back’s founder Kayoko Mitsumatsu quoted the Dalai Lama, who said “Reach out to each other with compassion and focus on what unites us as members of one human family.” YGB was founded to bridge the divide between affluent yoga practitioners and impoverished women and children in India. Our shared humanity compels us to do what we can within our own means to alleviate the suffering of others. Join Liforme and YGB in giving back to India in this hour of desperate need.