Dzaleka refugee camp, in Malawi, was designed for 10,000 people, but hosts over 60,000 refugees. Communities are torn by ethnic and religious conflicts. Children carry intergenerational traumas which impede their future. Traditional support is of great relief, but labor-intensive and expensive, reducing its availability. Yoga is a cost-efficient and sustainable practice for improving mental health, developing wellbeing, and building more resilient communities. Yoga Pura Vida will partner with Dzaleka Dojo, a refugee-led organization, for training 25  to 30 yoga teachers of host and refugee communities in classical therapeutic yoga for prosociality development in culturally sensitive ways. During 25 months they will reach about 15,000 children. Trained teachers will earn a better living while improving the lives of thousands of children during their lives. Children heal and share the tools with their families and peers. Awareness campaigns and open dialogues will be held with the communities to find wholesome ways to appropriate yoga together.

Organization Implementing the project

Yoga Pura Vida (YPV) is a foundation specialized in classical yoga (hatha, raja, jnana, karma & bhakti yoga) training for mental health and community building in Africa, supporting different tribes, religions, disabled people, and gender equality. We have ample expertise working and teaching yoga in Africa since 2013. Our model is based on generating changes from community leadership, outreach, and prosociality development. The African projects have been carried out in over 55 primary and secondary schools and in over 55 NGOs, in rural areas, and in cities. Direct beneficiaries include children and youth in slums of Kenya and Uganda, as well as refugees of all ages in Malawi. We have supported abused children, street children and youth, male and female inmates, residents in the national psychiatric center, universitarians, and trainee nurses in Sierra Leone. Moreover, in Uganda we aid children undergoing chemotherapy and autistic children; and elderly genocide survivors, hospital caregivers, and orphans in Rwanda. In Tanzania we have served deaf interpreters, orphans, and thousands of children in schools, and NGOs. The interventions have benefited people suffering from mental health problems, disabilities, drug addiction, poverty, stigma, and social exclusion. In Spain, we support elders living in elderly centers, vulnerable elder African women who are immigrants in a situation of social exclusion, elders with Alzheimer and dementia, and adolescents with high levels of stress and anxiety, including suicidal ideation. Currently, the YPV science department, the Complutense University of Madrid, The Autonomous University of Barcelona, and The University of Lleida, are going to be studying all Spanish projects. Most importantly, we have been present since 2016 in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp teaching yoga to children and youth. The NGO Jesuits Refugee Service, has recorded our impact on 3.746 children belonging to their schools inside the camp.