SISTER AID Programs Empower Women and Children
Over the last sixteen years, YGB’s SISTER AID programs have successfully implemented micro-loan and early education programs that assist thousands of underserved women and children to lift themselves out of the cycle of generational poverty to build sustainable lives and a sense of self-worth.
We are adding new initiatives that fill critical gaps which persist among marginalized populations, depriving them of opportunities. These include Girls Digital Center, The Pad Project, and Project Shaale.
Micro-loans empower mothers
India ranks 135th out of 143 nations on gender equality. In some rural areas, more than fifty percent of girls are married before the age of fifteen. Female literacy remains considerably lower than male literacy. However, women are the best poverty-fighters. Women use their earnings not only to feed their families, but to improve their families’ quality of life as well as to fund their children’s education. Women tend to prioritize giving the next generation more opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty.
In 2008 Yoga Gives Back was inspired by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Muhammad Yunus’ micro financing breakthroughs, and began by supporting micro financing programs in India.
Many global yoga communities quickly responded well to this campaign and extended their with their fundraising support to YGB.
NGO Nishtha, West Bengal
In 2010, YGB partnered with Nishtha in West Bengal and launched SISTER AID, an innovative women’s empowerment micro-loan program. It does not charge interest for loans but requires every borrower to save 50 rupees per month for their young girls’ education. Starting with 50 women, YGB has been able to grow this program to provide 550 impoverished women (45 groups) with small loans for income-earning businesses. Every year, we have witnessed the tremendous positive impact of this program on women’s lives. This program provides not only financial strength among women but also mental support systems which help them to stand against issues such as abuse and domestic violence for the first time in their lives.
Early education for young daughters
This program also provides educational funds for the members’ young daughters. So far, SISTER AID has helped over 600 young girls every year to continue their primary education, while preventing them from being forced into child marriage or labor. Many girls continue to higher education with our SHE Scholarship for Higher Education, aiming for college degrees. Offering educational opportunities at an early age is the key to optimize the impact to their lives.
Safe home and education
SISTER AID also funds 37 children at Deenabandhu Home in Chamarajanagara, Karnataka.
These children have absolutely no other place to go. At this home, children receive loving care and a high-quality education.