Project Haiti
Collaborative Effort to Bring Therapeutic Yoga to Haiti

focus :)

It seems that every time I submit a post some new awesome development comes our way. Here’s the latest exciting news. Dave Emerson of the Trauma Center contacted Kripalu and they have agreed to donate space enough for 30 people for our training from September 6 to 10. This is an astoundingly generous offer and a testament to how seriously the work of yoga for trauma recovery is being taken. The Trauma Center and it’s founder Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk have been studying the effects of yoga and meditation on PTSD and the data is very compelling (to say the least). This project will sponsored by JRI Health and the Trauma Center in Boston Mass. Our team will be developing a model of integrating yoga for trauma recovery programs for men, women, children and care givers/aid workers into already established aid or medical organizations in traumatized nations. In this case (Haiti) we are looking to Partners in Health and Paul Farmer’s group. We hope to establish ourselves as the mind body trauma recovery unit of in country established aid and/or health organizations such as Parters, Mercy Corp, Oxfam etc. The idea here is that with this program model we can go to any traumatized nation, starting with Haiti. Our core programming team consists of Mark Lilly of Street Yoga, Jenn Cohen of Little Flower Yoga, Dave Emerson of the Trauma Center, with a possible addition (we hope) of Steven Gross of Project Joy. Our project coordinators and general “get the job done” folks are Sue Jones (me) of yogaHOPE, Maggie Julianno of Sprout Yoga, We are being advised and supported by Deepak Chopra, Geri Benoit (former First Lady of Haiti), Bessel Van Der Kolk,  and Lachlan Forrow and Lisa Wong of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra and the Albert Sweitzer Fellowship.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has earmarked some funds for JRI to bring trauma relief to the local Haitian population so we will seize this opportunity to run a workshop or pilot program in a local community center or church. Mark, Steve, Jenn and Dave will develop a cohesive way to offer their programs for trauma recovery to the men, women, and children of the boston Haitian community, as well as the aid workers and family members returning from Haiti. This pilot will give us an opportunity to work out some kinks, get familiar with the Haitian culture and understand what they will and will not respond to. In order to best serve this community we need to know them and meet them where they are, and not where we want them to be (anyone with kids knows has learned this lesson well!) This is all in the works (Dave, Jenn, Mark and I had a great conference call today)

We also are actively accepting resumes for the first team on the ground in Haiti. We will be looking for program leaders and trainers who will be leading the program as well as educating Haitian community leaders on the running of the program. If you are interested please send your resume to We will select our first team from this first group of resumes so send it in!

The training is slated for September at Kripalu and the dates are September 6 to 10. In the meantime, we are looking for a facility (just one to start) to get our program running in! More updates on that as they develop. Donations are being accepted and I’ll be sending out an appeal shortly. You can send checks to Black Lotus and make sure you put “Project Haiti in the memo line!!

healing the world one breath at a time…


sue jones


3 Responses to “focus :)”

  1. I would love to assist on the ground in Haiti. This one community that really deserves a much needed boost. In Boston, on Dorchester Avenue there is a Haitian community center that could probably house your program. I don’t have any contacts there but at UMass Boston you could speak with Professor Marc Prou. He might be able to guide you.

    I am not a yoga instructor but be able to offer massage services in addition to your yoga therapy.. Please let me know your thoughts and how I may be of service.

    Good luck!

  2. Amazing work Sue – just reading it makes me so proud to be your friend. Let’s talk more about how I might be able to get more involved. Will pass the blogsite along to friends and family to get the word out there!

    lots of love!

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