On Saturday, the 10th of March, for the third year in a row we will be organising the annual ‘Yoga Stops Traffick’ event in Dublin.
‘Yoga Stops Traffick’ is a world-wide event involving yoga practitioners from the four corners of the earth. One day every year, for the last three years, we roll out our mats and try to get through 108 sun salutations.
This event is both a conscience-raising and fund-raising endeavour for the plight of trafficked children in India. All of the proceeds will go to Odanadi (a home for the survivors of human trafficking in Mysore, India).
Odanadi was founded 20 years ago by two former journalists, Stanly and Parashuram. They were researching a story on the streets of Mysore, when a chance meeting with a prostituted woman called Radhamma changed their lives forever…
‘Radhamma looked us in the eye and said, “Do you think any woman would choose this life?” We discovered that many women like her were trading sex in exchange for a bowl of rice to feed their children – not through choice. Her words haunted us for days. We couldn’t shake the feeling that we should be trying to give these women and their children the chance of a better future – and Odanadi blossomed from there.
Radhamma eventually became a prominent women’s rights campaigner and her son is now working as a lawyer in Bangalore. Sadly, she died of HIV a few years later, but her work changed the lives of thousands of other women. We left our jobs, built Odanadi from the ground up, and dedicated our lives to combatting human trafficking, gender-based violence and child exploitation.
This path we’ve chosen hasn’t been easy, but the prevention of human suffering is a global concern, regardless of caste, colour or geographical boundaries. Our lives have taught us that reaching out to another human being is the greatest happiness in the world.’
Suzanne and I visited Odanadi while we were in Mysore and we have both been moved to tears, by the tragedy of what has happened to these beautiful children but also by joy for what Stanley and Parashu are doing to save their lives. The work that they are doing there is simply incredible. They have told us how they break down doors and rescue children from the unimaginable situations which they have been forced into. Often Stanley and Parashu are persecuted by a corrupt police force and have to defend their actions over and over again in lengthy and costly legal battles. They never give up.
Suzanne spent some time teaching Yoga to the girls of Odanadi on her last trip to Mysore and so the desire to help raise awareness and money for this place is stronger from the personal connections that she made there.
This year’s Dublin event will take place at ‘Open Mind Yoga’ on Temple Lane South in Temple Bar (just off Dame Street) on Saturday the 10th of March from 10.30am to approximately 12.30pm. We would like to give a huge thank you to Open Mind Yoga for donating the space for free in support of Yoga Stops Traffick and to Christine Schnell for putting us in touch with them.
If you can’t make it along you can still make a donation here or, if you don’t feel like you’ll be able to complete 108 sun salutations, just come along and do what you can. Any effort is appreciated more than you could ever imagine. Even to see photos of yoga students from around the world rolling out their mats in support of Odanadi means so so much to the children there.
The suggested donation on the day is €15. Of course, if you would like to give a little more, that is also acceptable!