• Clean Water for Over 300 Kids in Kolkata, India

    Thanks to Omstars, MiiR, and the 8,823 compassionate yogis who participated in the July 2018 #HandstandMechanicsChallenge, Splash will ensure clean water, hands and toilets for over 300 kids at two schools in Kolkata, India.

    It was during a trip to Seattle, Washington, that Kino first came across the flagship location of MiiR, a registered B-corporation that gives a portion of all sales to organizations with sustainable methods of empowerment, like Splash! Thus, the 3-way partnership between Omstars, MiiR and Splash was born!

    The two schools, Bastuhara Vidyapith Primary School and Jnanendu Siksha Niketan High School share a campus in Kolkata’s Tangra neighborhood, which is being rapidly transformed by population growth and construction. As a result, the property prices in this area are quite high, resulting in pockets of slums in between high-rise towers where many of the students live.

    The schools are not only situated close to the Dhapa landfill – the biggest dump in the city, which operates at unsustainable rates today – they also lack adequate infrastructure to provide their students with clean water. While water is widely available at school, it is typically contaminated with E. Coli and other water-borne illnesses. With 94% of schools in Kolkata lacking soap for handwashing and over 30% of toilets with no water for flushing or doors or locks for privacy it can be difficult for kids to stay healthy.

    This is where Splash comes in with its innovative WASH-in-Schools model that includes:

    1. Installing the enabling infrastructure, including water filtration systems, water storage to ensure access, handwashing and drinking water stations, and child-friendly sanitation facilities.
    2. Delivering behaviour change programs for children and adults. This includes training focal teachers through an engaging, activity-based curriculum and supporting them to instruct student hygiene clubs on how to engage their peers in positive behaviours, such as handwashing.
    3. Creating a WASH ecosystem to ensure programme sustainability. This includes co-investment from schools and government, operations and maintenance training for school janitorial staff, school incentives through recognition programs, engaging parents through soap drives, and building local supply chains to ensure availability of spare parts and repair services.
    4. Conducting routine monitoring and evaluationof project sites. To ensure continuous learning and program improvement, Splash conducts pre and post-intervention assessments at each school, followed by five years of routine monitoring, twice per year.

    Because of companies like MiiR and all of you caring, kind, and motivated yogis out there, together, we will be able to help hundreds of more kids stay healthy, excel in school, and unlock their full potential. With your support, kids at schools like Bastuhara Vidyapith and Jnanendu Siksha Niketan can thrive!

    Who is Splash?

    Splash believes that every child deserves to have clean water, clean hands, and clean toilets. Our goal is to improve the health and development of children living in urban poverty by implementing integrated water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs in high-density, child-serving institutions, like schools and orphanages. This work supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, and to reduce WASH inequalities between and within countries. 

    We target 100% of a child population—every orphanage in China and every public school in major cities like Kolkata, Addis Ababa, and Kathmandu—to demonstrate our WASH programs are adaptable, scalable, and sustainable. We work closely with local communities, encouraging governments and NGOs to replicate our model.  Splash turns philanthropy into a catalyst for long-term systemic change. The impact has been significant. Founded in 2007, Splash has already completed over 1,730 projects serving more than 428,000 kids in eight countries: China, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. We are on track to help one million kids have clean water, hands, and toilets by 2023. Follow Splash at: FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM You Tube

    Who is MiiR?

    MiiR is a drinkware company that designs modest products built on function and simplicity for daily use.  Every product is paired with a trackable give code that gives back 3% of revenue to clean water and health projects. MiiR exists to empower people with access to a better future

  • Join this June Challenge, become the force of One Million Yogis!

    What if one million of us came together to empower others? I believe we can definitely make this happen. And it will truly enrich our yoga practice, too. It will become a two-way practice. It is estimated that 300 million people enjoy yoga worldwide today, generating 80 billion U.S. dollars. If we are part of this huge global trend, why don’t we take our own initiative and redirect a portion of this huge resource to give back to Mother India?

    This is why we are reaching out to you to be the force of One Million Yogis to make a massive positive impact in many more lives in India who desperately need our support for survival.  While we enjoy our blissful yoga practice on the mat, many mothers struggle to prepare the next meal for their children, young girls are forced into early arranged marriages, and orphans wander as HIV infected parents die in the towns and villages of India, the birthplace of yoga. I even met a teen girl in West Bengal who has been tortured by her father and brothers simply because she does not quit school. Today, with YGB’s scholarship and social program, she is earning good money and her family stopped beating her…the stories go on and on. Just as we want to make progress with our yoga, everyone  wants to make progress in life to reach one’s dream with joy and light. Why can’t we provide them with life changing opportunities?

    Most of us probably started yoga asana practice for physical exercise.

    Eleven years ago, I walked into an Ashtanga yoga class in Los Angeles looking for a fun and rigorous fitness class. I got hooked. I loved learning new poses and sweating a lot, while also slowing down and deepening my breathing. I was also introduced to Yoga’s spiritual tradition and started learning Sanskrit. One day, I read a line that hit me to my core, “First part of your life is to experience and learn. Second part of your life is to serve others.” I was 47. I did not know much about Seva or Karma of the yoga tradition. But this message truly resonated in me. With all I got from my daily yoga practice and my life, I needed to give back. To my surprise, I soon learned that many people actually share the exact same feeling!

    This was how Yoga Gives Back (YGB) was born and continues to grow. In its eleventh year, we now fund more than 1200 impoverished mothers, youths, and children in India with microloans and education funds with a minimum of five-year commitment to each person. Today, yoga communities in nearly 20 countries support our mission.

    I have never imagined that YGB could grow this much. But now, as YGB goes into its second decade of operation, I am convinced that we can do so much more. We can reach out to One Million Yogis globally!

    Here is another example how your support change lives:

    This year, we are adding new 25 teen “Devadasi” (servant to God) girls to our program, just north of Mysore. These girls  were born to Devadasi families in central Karnataka state. Once they reach to puberty, they are given to God in a marriage ceremony and labeled as “Devadasi, ” which is the beginning of their life long career as prostitutes as their mothers and grandmothers were.  Our NGO partner is working hard to rescue these girls, to provide them with good education and secure life so they can build their life with independence, sustainability and self-esteem. Your participation in this June Challenge will support these girls’ future!

    This is why I believe we can engage one million yogis:  We are not asking anybody to run a 5K to raise funds or to donate 1 million dollars. With your daily dedication, Kino’s continued support to our mission, and amazingly generous sponsors backing our effort, we get closer to One Million Yogis every day.

    If One Million Yogis get involved in this revolutionary movement, whether volunteering, hosting a class, doing Challenge, donating whatever you can, we can definitely uplift millions of lives in India. So why don’t we make this happen?!

    Running YGB for the last 11 years while enjoying the benefit and abundance of yoga practice, I am more convinced that yoga practice is enriched when it becomes a two-way practice. When you direct your energy gained from this practice not only to yourself but also to others, yoga truly starts to mean more. Yoga’s ripple effect truly starts to explode beyond our imagination. Maybe this is why Yoga means “Union.” Together we can effect change, by honoring our practice, and activating our gratitude.  Join us this June for Kino and Ahmed’s 10 Day Challenge, and stay involved in Yoga Gives Back’s #One MillionYogis Campaign. Namaste.

    By Kayoko Mitsumatsu

    Kayoko Mitsumatsu is the Founder and Executive Director of Yoga Gives Back

  • Do More Yoga. Do More Good.

    Being a yogi is about so much more than meditating and practicing asana. Yoga is a way of life, and as students of this sacred practice, it is our duty is to give back to our communities in a meaningful way. Here at OMstars – The Yoga Network, we make giving back easy by hosting challenges that not only give you the opportunity to practice yoga, but to contribute to meaningful causes that help make our world a better place.

    So far, we’ve hosted three charity challenges this year, including the #FlyLikeAYogi challenge which supported RAINN, the #ActualizeYogaChallenge which supported the Trini Foundation, and now the #ArmUpForAnimals challenge supporting Animal Hope & Wellness.

    Our newest challenge has officially begun and over the next 10 days, for every person who joins in (Pssst, it’s free!), our incredible sponsor, Canna-Pet, will be donating one supply of supplements to help animals in need at the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation.

    We love this incredible organization because they are 100% dedicated to rescuing abused and neglected animals, providing them full rehabilitation services and working to find new, loving homes for each of the animals they take in.

    From shelter animals and strays to beaten, abused and neglected pets, there’s no limit to what sort of situation they’re willing to rescue animals from. They even rescue dogs from the horrors of Asian Dog Meat Trade (can you believe it’s not even illegal??).

    With this challenge, our goal is to help thousands of abused pets get the care they need, so they can finally find their way to the loving homes they deserve. So sign up and join the challenge May 1st through May 10th, to practice some yoga, and save some puppies.

    We’ll see you on the mat!

    By Alex Wilson

    Join The Challenge

    Learn More About Animal Hope & Wellness