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Hey all! I'm excited to announced the charities to which I will be donating 5% of proceeds in 2018. I know, I know, it's already April and I'm super behind. But don't worry, I'm only behind in my blog posts, not the donations!
This year is exciting because I have chosen TWO charities that are near and dear to my heart. The first is the Kobanal Mission in Haiti and the second is Roots Tribe Yoga. Let me tell you a little bit more about each:
KOBANAL MISSION IN HAITI
The Kobanal mission is a Catholic mission serving the poorest of the poor near the city of Hinche, Haiti. The mission works to bring physical relief and spiritual healing to the local people. Their focus, unlike many Haitian charities, is on the nearby rural community.
My husband visited the mission on a service trip this year, providing health and dental care to the local community within the mission’s small clinic. He was so impressed by the mission, and especially by Father Glenn Meaux, the mission director.
Father Glenn joined the mission after simply praying about it and deciding it was something he was called to do. He has now been there for thirty years. While the mission was there before him, he has directed it’s growth from a very small mission to a very important presence in the surrounding area.
The mission provides countless services to the local people, such as schools for the children (which has grown from just nineteen students to over 1,000 under Father Glenn’s tenure), basic health education, sustainable agricultural programs and agricultural education. The mission builds structurally sound houses for the poorest members of the local community, which are are distributed based on greatest need. The mission has built new water infrastructure, piping water from a nearby spring to different areas around the mission, providing thousands with clean drinking water instead of having to rely on the unsanitary rivers nearby. They even have charitable programs that provide goats and fruit trees to the people. Thanks to Father Glenn and the Kobanal Mission, diseases have decreased, the life expectancy is longer and the malnutrition rate and infant mortality has decreased.
ROOTS TRIBE YOGA
This nonprofit was brought to my attention by my lovely and inspiring sister-in-law, Alex. Alex and my brother only recently returned from a two-year Peace Corp stay in Gambia. It was during their stay that Alex became involved in Roots Tribe Yoga (RTY). She has since explained to me their vision, their strategy and tactics, and I have been amazed by her stories.
The vision at RTY is for young people across the world grow up with a rooted sense of empowerment, compassion, and interconnectedness.. They do this with great on-site instructors across the globe implementing a three-part curriculum. The first month is spent on the "I" section, where the focus is on the individual. Teachers encourage youths to reflect on and realize their own value and capabilities. In the next month, the "You" section motivates students to broaden their perspectives from themselves to other important people in their lives, especially those who rely on them. The third month unites the two concepts in the "We" section. The students now delve into themes of unity, interconnectedness and support systems within their community. This aspect resonated especially with the students in Gambia, Alex says, since community is so culturally important. Additionally, a big tenant of the program is teaching the students ways to take care of themselves and to find mindfulness. The teachers present a variety of options to achieve this: yoga, journaling, whatever really speaks to the individual. Alex says, "We hope that they are able to take this home, so they are able to center themselves when difficult things happen. That is where the term yoga is actually put into play. We are talking about yoga in its fullest sense... not just the movements, but mindfulness as well."
Alex was amazed by the tangible changes she saw in students by the end of the program. She recounts, "Throughout the camp we talk about their goals, for instance, do they perhaps want to go to college? These are girls who are in senior secondary school, which is in itself incredibly rare, and they are at a very crucial point. Often they are about to drop out, since in most cases, their entire family structure does not really want them to be in school, but a wealthy relative or sponsor has allowed it to happen. So I think what was most significant to me was that these discussions we were having were really impacting the young women, beyond the abstract. It became clear that these girls were definitely going to stay in school for at least another year. I have stayed connected with these girls and you can just tell that their encouragement, that the reason they are still in school has come from this Roots Tribe Yoga curriculum."
We are so excited to donate to these charities this year, and know that the money is going to such great causes. Thank you for your support!