Liforme and Yoga Gives Back: Supporting Women and Children in India

Liforme and Yoga Gives Back: Supporting Women and Children in India
Since 2018, Liforme has donated over $75,000 to Yoga Gives Back, giving Indian women and children the education and resources they need to begin to close the equity gap. Much has been achieved, but we still have a long way to go.
Posted on: 7th March 2024

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    At Liforme, giving back is an integral part of our ethical business. We focus our charitable giving efforts on environmental conservation, wildlife preservation, and social justice. Since 2018, we have partnered with Yoga Gives Back, an amazing organisation that provides women and children in India with the educational and small business opportunities that engender generational change. We are proud to have donated over $75,000 to Yoga Gives Back to date in support of their proactive mission toward equity.

    About Yoga Gives Back

    In 2006, Kayoko Mitsumatsu, filled with profound gratitude for the benefits of her yoga practice, founded Yoga Gives Back. Kayoko envisioned YGB as a way for people who love and benefit from the amazing practice of yoga all over the world to give back to India, yoga’s motherland. Struck by the disparity between the lives of modern yoga practitioners in the developed world and impoverished women and children in India who lacked the resources to improve their circumstances, Kayoko came up with the motto, “For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life,” and began working with grassroots, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in rural parts of India.

    Today, Yoga Gives Back’s global community is empowering more than 2,400 previously underserved women and children with the opportunities that help them escape poverty. Read on for a look at the impact of several of YGB’s current initiatives and post-pandemic plans.

    Access to Financial Support - Microloans 

    Microloans are one of the first ways that YGB began supporting women in India. It is often impossible for women who want to operate small businesses to get start-up loans from traditional banks. Working with NISHTHA, an NGO in West Bengal, Yoga Gives Back established Sister Aid in 2010 to finance the microloans that allow women to gain financial independence, send their daughters to school, and support their families. 

    Meet Sonamoni

    A YGB microloan allowed Sonamoni to start a small business making straw mats in rural West Bengal. In addition to generating income, Sister Aid groups provide peer support when its members face domestic violence at home, as Sonamoni did after giving birth to a daughter. On YGB’s January 2023 trip to India, Sonamoni revealed that while her husband lost his income during the pandemic lockdowns, demand for her mats increased and she was able to grow her business. Sonamoni’s husband learned to make mats and now works for her. They recently opened a shop in a train station. Her business has earned her the respect of her in-laws and increased her confidence. 

    Access to Higher Education - SHE

    Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE) allows young people to continue their educations beyond the high school level, which prepares them for more skilled, higher paying careers. Without SHE, these students would not have the resources to access a college education.

    Meet Maya and Abuna

    In their rural village in West Bengal, Maya and Abuna’s mother was ridiculed for having daughters instead of sons. After receiving Yoga Gives Back Scholarships for Higher Education, the sisters graduated from college with bachelor’s degrees. Maya is now a day-care teacher and Abuna works in sales at a major electronics retailer. Their incomes support their parents as they save to rebuild the family home, which was damaged during Cyclone Amphan in 2020. In their village, Maya and Abuna have become examples of the value of educating girls.

    Meet Rekha

    Ten years ago, Rekha took advantage of a SHE to escape poverty and avoid an unwanted marriage at age 15. Having earned her bachelor's degree, she now teaches children who are not able to attend day school at a night shelter in a red district. Rekha, who considers this her dream job, exemplifies the power of education to elevate lives. Not only has Rekha been able to achieve financial independence, she is doing more good in her community in her chosen profession.

    Post Pandemic Initiatives

    The Covid-19 pandemic had a profound effect on the education and livelihoods of the women in YGB’s programs. During the long shutdowns in India, many families could not afford to eat. YGB responded accordingly, pivoting to helping over 500 families of its scholarship students with basic human necessities until the worst of the crisis passed. Emerging from the pandemic has also required a rethinking of the ways the YGB can best serve its community going forward.   

    Access to Menstrual Equity - The Pad Project

    Working with NISHTHA, The Pad Project, and Trotula Fund, Yoga Gives Back’s Pad Project provides Sister Aid groups with a new business opportunity while also improving sanitary hygiene for menstruators.

    Girls in India often miss school because of menstrual stigma and lack of access to toilets, sanitary pads, and period education. Producing affordable, high-quality, biodegradable pads in this community improves health awareness, menstrual acceptance, and school attendance, and creates a source of income.

    In April 2022, Yoga Gives Back was able to install two pad productions machines at NISHTHA in West Bengal. The group now produces 3000 pads per month under their own brand name, NIRMAN, which means 'to start something new'. The next step is to make the project sustainable and profitable. 

    Access to Technology – Girls Digital Center

    One of Yoga Gives Back’s latest campaigns is to fund a Girls Digital Center at NISHTHA, because women and girls need access to technology and a reliable internet connection for education and better employment opportunities. The centre is serving up to 600 girls with 7 desktop and 6 laptop computers. 

    Two girls are running a satellite program to bring computer access to more remote areas via a Village Service Center. Here, they are able help villagers with banking and teach basic computer skills to children. YGB plans to build on the success of this pilot program. 

    Access to Education – Project Shaale

    During Covid-19 shutdowns, children in rural India fell critically behind when their schools were closed for 18 months. YGB now helps support Project Shaale, which provides enriching learning resources, especially in science and math, to over 800 students at eight poorly funded government schools in Karnataka, South India.

    Join Liforme in Supporting Yoga Gives Back

    We are continually inspired by Yoga Gives Back’s achievements, commitment, and ability to respond with agility to the needs of their community in India. Real, positive change is happening every day because of the support of yogis just like you. Please join us in celebrating Yoga Gives Back by supporting their amazing work.


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