When I was growing up in Japan, which is a very middle-class society, I had never experienced or seen any real poverty, especially growing up in Tokyo in 1960s and 1970s, when Japan’s post-war economic miracle was taking place. Then, I had a chance to live in Brazil in the late 1970s, where as a teenager, I saw the divide between poverty and wealth, the reality of the real slums, kids on the streets begging every time you stopped the car at the traffic light, all very much like India. Social injustice hit me very hard and I chose to enter into documentary filmmaking.
As a middle age woman, feeling my life being so enriched by the practice of yoga, I felt a strong need to use all my resources to help others. I learned a lot about Dr. Muhammad Yunus’ revolutionary micro financing while working on a documentary about Social Entrepreneurship featuring Kiva.org. I was struck by the incredible impact which micro financing could bring to alleviate generations of poverty. And 25 dollars can make a fundamental difference on somebody’s life in India. As a happy and healthy yoga practitioner, I realized that I could contribute a little to India’s poverty issues. I hope to invite everyone who benefits from Yoga to join in our campaign by giving back and making some difference together.
Kayoko Mitsumatsu, co-founder of Yoga Gives Back, is a documentary filmmaker whose films deal with social justice issues, including First They Killed My Father: a memoir of a Cambodia’s Killing Fields’ survivor.
Please see this video to see how microcredit is transforming lives. For more insight into Yoga Gives Back please read this article.