Can the world be different?

Spent much of the morning online, catching up on Facebook and email, and finishing reading a remarkable article I started last week, The Women’s Crusade.

Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/magazine/23Women-t.html

The article mentions a nonprofit in Hyderabad, India, called Prajwala, on page 3. A 14-year-old Hyderabad girl from a poor family was forced into prostitution in New Delhi under false pretenses (a job as a maid). She witnessed the murders of 3 other girls who resisted. She was never paid and often beaten.

Eventually the police freed her and returned her to Hyderabad. She was taken in by Prajwala, which teaches new skills to girls rescued from brothels. She now earns a decent living as a bookbinder, is getting an education and helping put her younger sisters through school.

The thesis of the article is this: “With education and with help starting businesses, impoverished women can earn money and support their countries as well as their families. They represent perhaps the best hope for fighting global poverty.”

Here’s another quote: “In Asia alone about one million children working in the sex trade are held in conditions indistinguishable from slavery, according to a U.N. report…. India probably has more modern slaves than any other country.”

The wheels of my mind and heart began turning. Here, listen to them creak:

This is happening in India, the home of yoga, a practice that I love, that has given so much to me, and to so many other Americans, who are fortunate enough to be able to take yoga classes and go on yoga vacations and retreats.

Wow, this is the kind of reporting (from Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn) that I would pay for. It’s not just about how bad things are. The article notes a few organizations that are making a difference┬áin places around the planet.

Most beautifully, it provides a big insight into how to make the seemingly impossible actually happen — end poverty by focusing on educating and empowering women.

Creak. What if, and this is a big what if, American yogis adopted Prajwala as their nonprofit of choice, to give something back to the country that gave us yoga?

I emailed Prajwala with questions. It’s not as easy as you think — they don’t take PayPal, for one. I want to know how to help — not just by giving money, but by connecting American yogis to Prajwala. How can I best proceed? Ideas welcome!

My mind was churning with this when I sat on the zafu. First my body became still, then my breath slowed, my mind slowly slowed, my energy softened.

It’s not about me. It’s something moving through me.

It comes from a heart that has repeatedly been horrified by how humans can treat each other and a mind that wants so much to believe that the world can be different.

I ask you, can it?

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