Monday, January 10, 2011

By Donation Yoga (YYoga), and Thoughts on Safe Water

Happy 2011 dear readers! Hope it's the best year for you yet!

from Sarah Jamieson's blog (links below)

The wonderful, warm-hearted Sarah Jamieson is spreading the word about by-donation yoga classes at YYoga, proceeds going to "Off the Mat, Into the World". This charity has an international service project each year (2011 will be Haiti) to support communities in crisis. An excerpt from their website:

Each year, OTM sponsors an international service project called the Global Seva Challenge. The Global Seva Challenge is a transformational journey that builds community, provokes critical consciousness about global issues of social justice and equity, and raises significant funds to support communities in crisis. In our first three years, the Global Seva Challenge has raised over $1.5 million dollars for NGO’s in Cambodia, Uganda and South Africa and has left a powerful legacy in the communities we have served. In 2011, our Seva Challenge will be focused on meeting critical needs and creating long term sustainable solutions in Haiti.
OTM empowers Seva Challenge participants to raise a total of $20,000 each and asks them to do so through collaborating with their local communities. Engaging directly in the Seva grassroots fundraising process builds leadership skills and cultivates dedication and passion to the core mission of the project. Upon reaching their fundraising goal, participants embark on the Bare Witness Tour, a journey abroad where they will spend two weeks working directly with the organizations their funds support.

The Results...
2008 | Cambodia Seva Challenge: $524,000
2009 | Uganda Seva Challenge: $577,000
2010 | South Africa Seva Challenge: $529,000
2011 | Haiti: You decide!
So the very good news for us is that we can try out yoga classes at YYoga, by donation, and support this worthy cause at the same time as working off some of the holiday calories stored up in our bodies! They ask for $10 as a minimum donation, and I can't think of a better way to ease your way into a New Year's workout than by trying a few by-donation classes that you can feel good about on many levels!

Locations and participating classes are posted on Sarah's blog under "By Donation Classes at YYoga".

On another note, I attended a fantastic sermon by Mike Yankoski (author of "Under the Overpass" and co-editor of a new book, "Zealous Love") yesterday that involved some content regarding access to clean water in the world outside of our privileged corner. It was uplifting and encouraging, and not many sermons on the subject of clean water and extreme poverty are.

Mike Yankoski had a great line in his sermon (will be uploaded to the Tenth Church website soon), which I have paraphrased from memory - "When you had a glass of water this morning, or frozen Minute Maid orange juice you made up from a can, did you wonder if it was lethal? Did you worry about serving it to your children?" (It was the 'Minute Maid' that did it for me. I think my parents must've made up a small lake's worth of that stuff in the 80's alone!).

The answer, I hope, is no. And yet I never really take time to be thankful that we do have clean water. I hate that it's a luxury among the human race. I hate the fact that parents bury their children from Typhoid Fever again and again. All of it is so preventable. The stats are literally astounding - I won't overwhelm you with them (I think Mike mentions them in the sermon if you are interested; link below to UN report does also).

Charity organizations bringing help where it is most needed deserve our support, and I'm happy to share the word about YYoga's by-donation classes. $10 for drop-in yoga isn't so bad, either!

It was the 28th of July, 2010 that the UN general assembly declared access to safe drinking water and sanitation a basic human right, and that they resolve to . . . well, I'm not sure what they have resolved to do, if anything, though have heard that there was a push to increase access to safe water drastically for the 884 million who don't (whoops - said I wouldn't overwhelm you with stats!).

I wonder where we as a global population are on that issue. I can't say I've done much myself in terms of digging trenches and helping fit pumps, but I can at least say that I've supported some wonderful NGO's that are working towards it.

  OxFam Unwrapped Canada - "Safe Water" gift - $22

 $15 000 to drill a well (World Vision). Yes, you could raise this money! Be creative - how can you raise funds?

Above three photos: All from World Vision Canada's "Water" gifts catalogue website page (Top - Emergency Water and Sanitation for a Family - $100; Middle - Water Filter for One Family - $75; Bottom - Clean Water for a Family - $100).

Rather humbling, isn't it? I go to the tap all the time without ever once thinking about how insanely fortunate I am to not have to worry if the water I need to drink is contaminated with human or animal feces. Think of this next time you wash your hands, do the dishes or simply go for a drink! It's almost hard to imagine - I'm going to take a bath right after I post this, maybe boil some water for some tea (I have a cold - I need lots of fluids. And a cold doesn't even compare to Cholera....!).

 UNICEF Canada'a Gifts of Magic - Gift of Water page

My hope for 2011 is that we (you and I and everyone we know) make a concerted effort to try to help the people of the world access safe drinking water. You only have to hear Mike's sermon on the mom and dad in Northern Uganda and the 10 little graves to realise why this cause needs huge support.

It's 2011. Everyone should have clean water.

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