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YAMA Foundation

Mission: YAMA Foundation’s mission is to make yoga, art, and meditation accessible to Hong Kong’s most vulnerable communities. Our work spans five core areas: people with disabilities (PWD) and special needs (SEN), people with poor mental health, and people living in care homes, in poverty, and in prison. As a Section 88 IRO-registered Charity, we aim to make relevant and lasting change by dismantling barriers for those exiled to the margins of society and supporting their fundamental needs for physical and mental health, self-expression, and connection to community.

Beneficiaries: Physically Disabled/ Challenged, Mentally and Emotionally Disabled/ Challenged, Children with special education needs, Medical Conditions, Impoverished, Homeless, People living in prison

Top needs:

  • Find immediate sources of funding to support critical overhead and staffing needs for core programmes. If we are unable to source new funding commitments, YAMA may be forced to shut down many of these programmes for good, which in turn puts beneficiaries at risk of physical and mental deterioration, and the organisation’s longer-term viability at risk.
  • Offer feasible and sustainable solutions to support beneficiaries’ wellbeing, during COVID, and address the gap between what they can afford vs. the actual costs of programmes, while navigating social distancing guidelines. (The vulnerable communities we serve have been some of the hardest hit by the global pandemic, and need connection and support.)
  • Offer feasible and sustainable solutions to support beneficiaries’ wellbeing, during COVID, and address the gap between what they can afford vs. the actual costs of programmes, while navigating social distancing guidelines. (The vulnerable communities we serve have been some of the hardest hit by the global pandemic, and need connection and support.) Secure funding through grants and other fundraising efforts in order to prevent further programme suspensions, maintain our dedicated, compassionate team, and meet the increased demands for programmes by offering an increase in class frequency in order to reach the same number of beneficiaries.
  • Establish long-term partnerships, not only to sustain staff and programming, but to find a suitable venue on Hong Kong island that is fully accessible to run programmes for people with disabilities and special needs. (Currently no venue exists despite our inquest.)
  • Build crucial organisational capacity to grow and meet the increased demand in services. Secure strategic support and counsel to develop a diverse range of fundraising strategies to ensure long-term sustainability and continuity while we work toward our mission of creating equitable access to wellbeing services to marginalised communities.

 

Top 3 challenges:

  • Our interventions alleviate poor mental and physical health for beneficiaries, yet donors falsely perceive services to be non-essential, and have diverted support. This exacerbates conditions for vulnerable populations at risk of physical and mental deterioration.
  • Sustained economic downturn from social unrest and COVID means that sources of funding we have previously relied-on are no longer available, despite an increase in demand for services, resulting in programme suspension, staff furloughs, and depleted cash reserves.
  • COVID challenges our ability to serve large groups, requiring an increase in frequency to reach same number of beneficiaries, furthering our financial strain.

 

Impact on beneficiaries:

YAMA’s evidence-based interventions have empowered students and carers to develop the self-acceptance and self-reliance to improve their quality of life. A number of beneficiaries have progressed to become teachers, advocates, and ambassadors for accessible wellbeing, making significant, sustainable contributions to the larger community.

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