In 1998 The Traditional Yoga Association, inspired and co-ordinated by Swami Ambikananda Saraswati, a Hindu monastic, author and Yoga teacher, established the MUKTI Project as our framework for supporting the education of dispossessed, disenfranchised and endangered children. Our support has focused on children in India, though we recognise that this is a global issue.

In the Hindi language ‘Mukti’ means ‘freedom’. We believe education helps to free children, and supporting children’s struggle towards a life free from poverty, hunger and abuse is part of our own growth towards spiritual freedom. The activities of MUKTI are organised by Yogin/is and sustained largely by the diverse Yoga community in Britain. MUKTI also has a branch in Spain. Trudie Styler, a practising Yogini and film director, is MUKTI’s patron.

The MUKTI Project is a way of practising Yoga — a way of moving spiritually and practically that makes real the oneness of all. Though we did not give birth to them physically, the children whom MUKTI helps to support are OUR children: they belong to the present and the future of the whole world which we are all responsible for creating with our actions and our generosity.

The public are often concerned that charities give more to themselves — through what they spend on administration and salaries in their own countries — than they give abroad. MUKTI works at overcoming this: none of the money we raise for projects in India goes into salaries in the UK. Everyone who does work for MUKTI does so as a volunteer, and most of our small administrative expenses are paid by The Traditional Yoga Association from the proceeds of its teaching programmes.

MUKTI’s perspective is that ‘charity’ is a mutual exchange: we are all developed, we are all underdeveloped, we are all developing. MUKTI is a way of giving something back to the children of India, the civilisation which gave the world Yoga. We believe that in giving to the children’s education, we in MUKTI — as well as everyone who makes a donation, and all the communities we live in — are being given an education and a chance at a better life.