Oct '08 Seva

Yoga in Rwanda
By Lara Lauchheimer

WE-ACTx's Ashtanga in Rwanda (AIR) project is the first NGO which emphasizes yoga as one of its main initiatives by providing free yoga classes to HIV-positive women and children. (Please see the program website for more information.)

In 1994, one million people were senselessly killed in Rwanda. Conflict had been present between the two major ethnic groups (the Tutsis and the Hutus) for decades with smaller violent episodes occurring and a mass relocation of Tutsi citizens around 1960. The Tutsis who were forced to leave Rwanda were never formally accepted in the surrounding countries and lived in extreme poverty whereas in their home country they had lived quite well. In the early 90's, a group of them formed an army and began to put pressure on the Rwandan government to allow
their return.

Hutu extremists used this as an excuse for one of the biggest acts of violence our world has ever seen. They took over the airwaves and inspired hate across the nation by convincing Hutus that their Tutsi neighbors were out to get them. They used and possibly orchestrated the assassination of the Rwandan president as a catalyst to convince regular citizens to take up machetes and hack to death Tutsi friends and sometimes even relatives. Any Hutu who did not take up arms was considered a Tutsi accomplice and was terminated.

Through the WE-ACTx AIR program, I will have the opportunity to offer yoga instruction to women and children touched by this tragedy. Support this great cause by sending even the smallest of donations to:

Rwanda Yoga Program
584 Castro St. #416
San Francisco, CA 94114

Read more about the cause and my mission:

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