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Jayshree tripled her income due to microloan

Picture of Jayshree


Jayashree lives in the suburbs of Bangalore and is married and the mother of two children. We visited her at her humble dirt floor one room home for the first time in 2007. We were touched by her warm smile and most generous hospitality, serving us hot tea and cookies.

Jayashree was born into a very poor family in Bangalore. When she was a child, her family’s financial situation became so severe that she had to drop out of school and work at a garment factory. She toiled throughout her childhood and after she got married at fifteen, her meager earnings had to support her ailing in-laws. She had two children. Her husband’s rickshaw business was not enough to pay her sons’ education or secure food for the family.

In 2007, Jayashree learned from her neighbors about Grameen Koota’s microfinance program and applied for her first loan. She was granted a first loan of 7,000 rupees ($175), and immediately bought her husband’s auto rickshaw. Owning their own rickshaw business increased their income significantly.

Jayashree was able to pay back her entire loan in one year and became eligible for her second loan in 2008. Having proven her diligence, her second loan amount doubled to 15,000 rupees ($375). This time, she bought a sewing machine and started stitching bags. The family’s earnings have now tripled and she is earning 150 rupees ($3.75) a day. In addition, she opened a small shop next to her house to sell her products which is earning her an additional 100 rupees ($2.50) a day.

She is sending her elder son to a medical school. Her son dreams of becoming a doctor and thanks his mother’s business for providing his education, their own home and daily food.

This post is extracted with permission from the original article published by LA Yoga magazine here.

To participate in a Yoga practice where the proceeds support Yoga Gives Back and help directly transform someone’s life in India either sponsor a donation yoga class or participate in one.

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Found a diamond ring!

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Microfinance changes lives

Yoga Gives Back’s mini-documentary of micro-loan recipients, by Kayoko Mitsumatsu. Four women were filmed during YGB’s first visit to Grameen Koota, Bangalore in 2007. This short video of less than 5 minute illustrates the transformative power of micro loans. A must watch!

For more insight into Yoga Gives Back read this article. A quick microfinance FAQ is found here.

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25 Dollars can make a fundamental change in someone’s life!

 Picture of Kayoko Mitsumatsu

Kayoko Mitsumatsu

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 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.

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Yoga Gives Back: Changing the world, one person at a time

Picture of Vinatha M Reddy

Vinatha M Reddy

We can talk about making change. But affecting real change in the world comes from impacting the lives of individuals. It comes from empowering people to be independent and able to make a living on their own while at the same time being fully integrated in our interdependent global community. Sometimes it takes something that seems to be radical to make this change, but these shifts can be deceptively small. They can be even as small (or as large) as the cost of a Los Angeles Yoga class.

How could this be? In the practice of microcredit, lending seemingly small amounts of money to small-scale entrepreneurs allows them to succeed and change their circumstances. This is the fundamental basis of microcredit’s transformative power; it’s a revolutionary concept in finance. This practice shifts the emphasis from financial transactions being focused only about large loans and large scale businesses, which are out of reach of many one-person operations, institutions and organizations – to lending practices that actually make a positive difference in a person’s life. Microcredit practices based on social justice and empowerment operate through a combination of small-scale loans based on trust and community support, with structured repayment plans and programs that encourage savings. In these situations, people actually have the opportunity to solidify long-term change in their lives.

In 2006, economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus and the institution he founded, the Grameen Bank, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This award was in recognition of their revolutionary efforts to create this micro-credit model, support sustainable economic practices, and provide an alternative to what were exploitive norms. When a person is caught in a cycle of poverty, they may become trapped in the system, particularly since large banking institutions have historically ignored people without assets or credit histories, who are just starting out and who may not have already proven themselves. Most banks prefer to lend large sums of money that represent a greater profit margin and are set up only for large loans in order to make a profit themselves. And even making it more challenging, people at the bottom of the economic scale worldwide have had to rely on moneylenders charging usurious terms and interest rates to obtain funds to plant the next crop, buy inventory of new equipment, or upgrade a business in any way. Institutions such as the Grameen Bank and their affiliates are offering another approach. It’s one that has significantly impacted millions of people. Continue reading

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