An artistic student Nagaraju’s dream is making a real progress!
Meet a young talented Nagaraju P. He is one of YGB’s 210 SHE (Scholarship for Higher
Education) students, which funds destitute teen students’ higher education for five years. Coming from a very poor family in Chamarajanagar, outside of Mysore, Nagaraju was so happy to receive this scholarship to continue his education in a college in Mysore, majoring commerce. In December 2016, I visited Nagraju’s home, as Professor Jayadev (Deenabandhu Trust, YGB NGO Partner) had already sent me his incredibly beautiful and powerful drawings by emails. I wanted to meet him and ask his future plans.
In 2017, I met with a passionate Jyoti Jaiswal, an owner of Om Sutra online yoga accessories company based in New York. Jyoti’s mission is to empower women, artisans and talented artists by creating job opportunities with fair wages for a sustainable livelihood. I immediately shared Nagaraju’s designs with Jyoti, who was very impressed with them that she agreed to create bags with his design and market on her site. As Nagaraju’s designs started traveling virtually from Chamarajanagar to New York, the new “NIRVANA PROJECT” was born. As Jyoti puts it, “this project is about Nagraju’s transformation and reaching to his dream…” I thought this is a beautiful name for this project which came together magically, but actually with tireless work by Nagaraju, Jyoti, Prof Jayadev and Mr Menon in Mysore.
I met with Nagaraj this January again. I was very happy to hear that he decided to continue to pursue Art and tries to become an artist though it may not be the easiest path. His thank you card is filled with deep sense of gratitude and also most moving message is that he wants to establish himself as an artist to help the poor children in his community. Actually, this is a common message and strong feeling among all the students here. They are so compassionate and thoughtful. I was most touched to receive my portrait by Nagaraj!
No dream is too small or too big to pursue. I am again empowered and inspired to witness how our small contribution can seed an opportunity to live up to somebody’s potential. As YGB, we will continue to follow up his story and I look forward to sharing it year after year. This is a true learning process for myself and for YGB as well. We hope to support Nagaraj’s dream, one bag at a time, while creating more sustainable income opportunities for local women tailors as the NIRVANA PROJECT takes off!!
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As a Founder/Executive Director of Yoga Gives Back, I have the privilege and responsibility to visit YGB programs in India about once a year since 2007. Witnessing personal stories of our fund recipient mothers, youths and children as well as deepening our relationship with YGB’s NGO partners has been an incredible journey and I want to share it with you all. Our collective global effort is now making a real impact in more than 1000 lives with sustainable support. I will be writing many more stories from our recent Seva Trip in the weeks to come.
This is part of an ongoing series from the personal point of view of YGB founder Kayoko Mitsumatsu. To read more check out Kayoko’s Journey