Meet the Founder, Kayoko Mitsumatsu
“In 2006, as I began to learn yoga asana and philosophy, it hit me very hard that I needed to use all my capacity to help others, especially the underserved women and children in India, motherland of YOGA. I was benefitting so much from the daily practice of Yoga, I had to give back. I shared this idea with my yoga teacher and the studio manager who all supported the idea. That’s how Yoga Gives Back was born with our mantra — For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life. “
Previously Kayoko was a producer/director for documentary programs at NHK (Japan’s National Public TV) since 1984 and Cultural Attache at the Embassy of Japan in London.
Global Awareness Outreach
In the last fifteen years, Yoga Gives Back has spread globally with 150 Ambassadors who are yoga teachers sharing YGB’s mission with their communities as well as raising funds with their events. We have also created a community of dedicated volunteers and partnering sponsors whose annual contribution also tremendously helps our mission.
Programs of Empowerment in India
with micro loans
with care and education
with 5-year scholarships for higher education
With growing global support, we are now empowering over 2400 women and children in India with a minimum five-year commitment to each person. Today, YGB’s “Sister Aid” program provides microloans to 550 mothers and primary education to 600 young girls and abandoned children. Our “SHE (Scholarship for Higher Education)” program offers 400 disadvantaged youths in Karnataka and West Bengal an opportunity to obtain college degrees.
Having witnessed severe socio-economic impact of the pandemic, we also added a new program “Project Shaale” in Karnataka, a special education assistance to help 800 poor and rural children to catch up with their education after 18 month-long school closure. “Women Rise Digital Center” aims to provide access to computers, Internet and skills training for 5,000 underserved girls and women in rural West Bengal to uplift also their families and the entire region, as well as achieving menstrual equity through our introduction of the Pad Project.
Over the last decade, we have worked closely with our respectful NGO partners (Non Governmental Organizations) in India to carry out and grow YGB programs together: Deenabandhu and Shaktidhama in Karnataka, Nishtha in West Bengal.
There are many charity organizations within the yoga community, but there is none other that focused on giving back to India, especially to support the serious challenges of poverty and related social issues. It’s clear that the economic imbalance is lopsided, that impoverished mothers will never even have a chance to relax with yoga practice in India; while so many of us, an estimated 300 million practitioners today, enjoy this practice mainly for self-care, generating an estimated 80 billion dollars.
Now, our goal is to reach to #OneMillionYogis so we can create much bigger impact, empowering lives.