Breath of Hope Foundation Inc.
managed by T. Skovgaard Poulsen
The not-for-profit Breath of Hope Foundation is dedicated to fostering empowerment in children and communities through the mind-body practice of yoga. In collaboration with educators and researchers, Breath of Hope (BOH) fosters resiliency in the at-risk child. In post-disaster and conflict situations, our community-based yoga programs promote a ripple effect—the children's renewed sense of peace and stability radiate to the family, school, community, and beyond. BOH was born in response to the 2004 tsunami in South Asia. As BOH’s founder Therese Poulsen watched the media coverage of the devastation, she understood that material relief efforts, however vital, would do nothing to alleviate the deep and pervasive trauma caused by loss of family, home and community, especially in the region's children. She also realized that her unique background as a teacher of yoga might give her the means to make a difference in those distressed young lives: the science of yoga can provide practitioners of every age and social condition with the balance and strength to face life's most trying challenges. In spring 2005, T.P. traveled to southern Sri Lanka to begin her own relief efforts by establishing community-based yoga programs. She began by knocking on the few doors literally left standing, and met with regional and local leaders to design a minimally invasive, culturally sensitive network of support for the area's trauma-exposed youth. Since then, T.P. has initiated programs in schools, orphanages, and community centers across southern Sri Lanka, Indonesian, and Thailand, and is now starting a program in Germany, helping thousands of children find renewed hope, strength and confidence in the wake of disaster while training hundreds of teachers to carry on the work with minimal outside support. Moving forward into the future, BOH will continue providing services in South Asia and Europe as we work to expand our programs wherever they are needed and requested across the world.