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Meet the charity helping refugees recover from atrocities through yoga

Emily Brett created yoga charity Ourmala after teaching yoga voluntarily to a group of women who had suffered from gender based violence and were facing refugee status.

The positive feedback was overwhelming and with demand for her classes rising, she decided to make it her life objective to help other displaced people across London through the power of yoga. 

The not-for-profit organisation aims to help refugees and asylum seekers recover from atrocities they have suffered and enable them to move on with their lives through therapeutic yoga sessions as well as providing other services.

Yoga has been proven to help improve both physical and mental health; soothing anxiety and depression, whilst increasing inner resilience and confidence.

Emily with one of her clients (Ourmala).

In addition to the classes, Ourmala offers other services such as hot meals, legal aid, sanitary products and access to mental and physical healthcare. The Happy Baby Project, for example, offers specialist trauma-informed Yoga for Mums who have survived mental and physical abuse.

In a move that will allow Ourmala to expand its reach, this year the charity has partnered with Lululemons’ social impact programme ‘Here To Be’ and is it’s acting UK partner for the next 12 months.

The athletic apparel retailer launched the programme in 2016, which commits $25 million over the next five years to the best charitable organisations working with meditation and yoga for under-served and at-risk communities.

An Ourmala client enjoys the class (Ourmala).

Through this Emily plans on putting in place 20 yoga classes a week by the end of 2018, replicate the Happy Baby project in South London and pilot work outside London where many of Ourmala’s clients get dispersed to, such as Halifax, Glasgow and Kent. 

Founder Emily says of her work:

‘It’s the most rewarding thing seeing people feeling human again.’

‘I remember one woman said to me once after yoga I feel stronger, I feel ready to fight in a positive way, like peace fight.’

Ourmala is funded by grants, public donations and fundraisers and relies on the generous support of volunteers. If you would like to find out more visit the website here.

Source: Evening Standard. 

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