Doing Good! 6 Vital Social Causes We've Helped Together

“We need hope.” The tearful words of a man forced to flee his country without his son when troops raided their village, this phrase expresses how much has been taken from the Burmese people. More than 1 million Burmese people are in hiding, trapped in the crossfire of a 60-year civil war and military dictatorship. Refugee camps dot the landscape of bordering Thailand, and 60 percent of the children in the camps are malnourished.

It’s one place in the world where there is great need — and one place where Gaiam is making a difference.

Here we’re working in several ways to support the work of Partners Relief & Development, a nonprofit conceived by Steve Gumaer and his wife, Oddney, in 1994. After the couple backpacked into the distressed conditions of the Sho Klo refugee camp in Thailand, they learned that they could support a child for an entire year at a cost of only $30.

The Gumaers’ pledge to help that one child grew into a force that helps thousands of displaced people in three countries, giving special attention to women and children by building and supplying orphanages, schools, healthcare systems and more.

Gaiam contributions have provided more than 300 newly displaced families with five essential items for survival and supplied more than 1,000 hygiene kits (pictured at top) to orphans living in Burmese refugee camps.

Steve Gumaer and Group of Children

When a Gaiam team visited Steve (pictured at right, handing out supplies to a group of children) in Thailand to shoot video and photos at one of the camps, “They gave us a note of thanks,” says Cyd, a Gaiam international relations projects director. “It said, ‘Thank you for helping us, when you didn’t even know us.’”

Gaiam also supports many other causes — both abroad and closer to home — that align with our mission to help people from all walks of life live healthy and happy. Organizations we’ve supported via corporate donations include …

Young Student at Mt. Everest Mind Camp

A young student soaks up stories in the Hillary School library in Khumjung, Nepal, thanks to the Mt. Everest Mind Camp program.

Mt. Everest Mind Camp, which supplies books to schools in Nepal — the world’s fourth-poorest country. Gaiam donated environmentally geared books to help these kids “better look after their fragile environment as they grow and learn,” says Mt. Everest Mind Camp founder Stephanie Graham. “These children will benefit for generations to come.”

Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Foundation, whose Power of Movement wellness event helps fund critical research on life-altering illnesses, helping to give tens of thousands of people a chance for a healthier life.

The New Orleans Volunteer Yoga Project, which  brought free yoga workshops and Gaiam-donated yoga mats to 11 nonprofits and community centers in this city still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

Young girl in Crow's Pose

Young girl shows off her Crow’s Pose, which she learned at a class in her neighborhood offered through the New Orleans Volunteer Yoga Project.

“We reached more than 400 people from age 6 to 90,” says program manager Katie McDonnell. Some centers committed to offering free public yoga classes every week.

The Wellness Initiative, which produces children’s nutrition, yoga and stress management programs to promote success in academics and instill healthy lifestyle habits at a young age. 

The Art of Yoga, whose Open Door program teaches yoga, meditation and creative arts to troubled teen girls, assigns yoga mentors and sends each girl home with a Gaiam yoga mat to help them continue their practice at home and “affirm their self-worth and enormous potential,” says program founder Mary Lynn Fitton.

Thank you for helping us support vital causes like these.

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