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.
In the low income community of Chamarajanagara, outside of Mysore, Karnataka, YGB is now funding 60 students with SHE (Scholarship for Higher Education). Our NGO Partner Deenabandhu Trust hosted a gathering so that we could meet these students and hear their stories as well as future plans. Most students are in their two-year PUC (Pre-University Course) or already in three-year Diploma (science courses) or Degree (arts courses). Every one’s eyes are so bright with their determination to complete their higher education to find a good job! I am always touched to hear how every student wants to get a job and secure their income so that they can help their families and communities. Here, nobody says, “I want to become rich!”
Sandeep is a student featured in YGB FILM “Gold in Hand,” who lost his education for seven years as a teenager due to forced labor. Now he is getting very high grades in his engineering Diploma course. He has been offered a fantastic internship position at a big construction company. All the SHE Scholarship students come from very poor families. Everyone expresses deep gratitude how this scholarship is helping to continue their education to reach their dreams.
I also met 18 year old Mona who shared her hardship. Her father died three months ago and suddenly, there is no income in this family as her mother can not work. They are now living at her uncle’s house but she was not sure how long this can continue. She is at her first year, studying commerce, but she was not certain if she could continue her education. While working with YGB programs in India, we often face this kind of challenging situation. I have discussed her case with Professor Jayadev, Director of YGB’s NGO Partner Deenabandhu Trust, who will look into her situation to try to support her continuing education. YGB has been trying to be as flexible as possible with a situation like Mona’s and will extend our support so that she can get through this tough period. I will keep you posted how we can support her.
Hearing her story was so difficult, but I was comforted by her long time friends who all have serious financial and social challenges at home, but as a group, they help and support each other. They told me, “Mom, please do not cry. This is our best day in our lives. We do not cry!” Hearing this made me swell up even more. One of Mona’s girl friend’s dream is to make lots of money to help her disabled elder sister live with dignity…I continue to receive so much inspiration from these students. Thank you!!
“Man needs difficulties in life because they are necessary to enjoy success.”
—Ashwini, B. YGB SHE Student
We received many beautifully hand written thank you cards from the SHE students. Each card expresses one’s deep appreciation for this scholarship.
“Dream is not the thing you see in sleep, but it is the thing that doesn’t let you sleep,”—many students quoted this message from A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India.