Yoga Gives Back Launches Global Micro-Financing Initiative

Lesley Hendry, yoga enthusiast and founder of Yoga Gives Back, has found a way to make the massive popularity of yoga work for the rest of the world: by offering the proceeds from her classes to micro-financing projects to fight poverty in India.

On September 17, Yoga Gives Back will launch their first-ever global fundraiser, “Thank You, Mother India.”  Fifty studios in 10 different countries will participate in a day of charity classes.

The idea is simple: yoga studios around the country volunteer their space and expertise for a charity yoga class.  Participants come to take the class and learn more about Indian culture, and the fee they pay goes straight to micro-financing projects for impoverished women in India.

Micro-financing fights poverty by lending small amounts of money to people—usually women—living in developing nations.  With the money, recipients can start businesses, educate their children and gradually improve the quality of their lives. Even a loan as small as 25 dollars is enough for a would-be entrepreneur to get started. That’s about the cost of one or two yoga classes, depending on where you live. Hendry realized that, too, and the idea for Yoga Gives Back was born.

“Today, 76 % of India’s population—800 million people—live below the poverty line of $2.50 a day,” Hendry writes on the organization’s website.  “It is especially women and girls, who suffer from hunger and poverty, due to malnutrition, child marriage and lack of education.  If a fraction of this can help the poor in India, we can make a difference; we can affect change.”

Hendry was inspired by the work of Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist who won a Nobel Prize for his work with micro-financing organizations. Since the organization was launched in 2007, the organization has spread across the U.S. and abroad—there are Yoga Gives Back events across Europe, Asia and Australia.

To see if a studio near you is participating or to learn more about the organization and microfinancing, visit

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