Yoga Event Aids Congolese Women
Allison Osborn knew from the outset of the Self-Expression and Leadership Program that she wanted to do something for the women of the Congo who have suffered violence in the country’s ongoing civil war. Osborn, who is a Yoga practitioner training to be a Yoga teacher, decided that if her project would be the practice of Yoga in real life, Yoga in action, then she might as well have the project involve Yoga directly.
Osborn decided to have the event be a fundraiser for City of Joy, a project that provides services and shelter for affected Congolese women. The fundraiser would offer attendees Yoga classes from various teachers for the price of a ticket. Osborn thought she would have a lot of work to do convincing teachers one by one to assist in the project, but the idea quickly caught on and took on a life of its own. The first teacher she approached was so excited about the idea that she convinced a group of other teachers to participate.
In the end, nine yoga teachers and a dance teacher led classes for the November 8 event, which was attended by almost a hundred people and raised $4,126 for City of Joy. Everything from the space, the food and services and other prizes which were raffled off were donated, so 100% of the proceeds went to the women’s shelter project.
“One of the yoga teacher told me that she’d never taught to this many people in her life,” recalled Osborn.
Preparations are already underway to create similar events next year. Those interested can email Osborn at [email protected]
The event caught the attention of the Rochester television and print media. The Rochester Business Journal wrote the following story in preparation for the event.
Local yogis will hit the mat Nov. 8 to raise awareness and funds for an African hospital and refugee center.
Calling themselves Warriors for Peace, yoga enthusiasts who practice in area studios will offer an afternoon and evening of yoga and movement classes to the public to raise funds for City of Joy in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A brutal civil war in that country–once known as the Belgian Congo and, later, Zaire-began in 1998. Though the war technically ended in 2003, women and girls remain targets of intense aggression. City of Joy helps these women overcome the mental and physical tolls of their experience through medical care, leadership and job training, shelter, education and counseling, says Allison Osborn, a Rochesterian who hatched the idea for the fundraiser.
The event will be held at Physikos Movement Center in Village Gate Square from 1 to 8:30 p.m. Taught by local yoga instructors, classes will be suitable for all levels of experience. There also will be a raffle for wellness services, massages, gift certificates and artwork.
Donations for the event are based on a sliding scale with a suggested minimum of $15. For more information, call Osborn at 797-5287.