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

Since 2018, Liforme has donated close to $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.

Ann Pizer | Posted in:Inspire

At Liforme, giving back is an integral part of our ethical business. Through our Live For More Foundation, 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 generation change. We are proud to have donated over $75,000 to Yoga Gives Back since 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 mantra, “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, this Sister Aid group provides 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. 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 produced 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. Maya and Abuna have become examples in their village of the value of educating girls.

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.

Access to Technology – Girls Digital Center

One of Yoga Gives Back’s latest campaigns is to fund a Girls Digital Center at NISHTHA for the benefit of up to 5,000 girls, women and their families from surrounding communities. Women and girls need access to technology and a reliable internet connection for education and better employment opportunities.

Join Liforme in Supporting Yoga Gives Back

We are continually impressed 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.

Check out our Giving Back range to discover the other charities and causes we are supporting through our Yoga mat collection. 

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