It has been just over three months since I started working for The Breathworks Foundation, taking on a new role as Head of Development, and what an inspiring and heart-opening time it has been already. The Trustees asked me to bring my previous fundraising experience to The Foundation to raise money to realise Vidyamala’s long held vision: sharing mindfulness with as many people who suffer through pain, illness or stress as possible, whatever their financial circumstances.
"I am absolutely delighted that Karunatara Green has joined The Breathworks Foundation, which funds Mindfulness for Health Course bursaries for those struggling financially, as Head of Development. She brings a wealth of experience in fundraising from her previous role at the Manchester International Festival and, every bit as important, she brings a lot of heart. She is passionate in helping the Foundation expand its reach and already has a keen grasp on the scale of suffering in our societies. She can clearly see the potential of the Breathworks approach to mindfulness and compassion to help people find new ways to manage their difficulties and to find some hope and ease. It is a real joy to have her join the Breathworks project. I get very excited when I think of all the people we will help once we have raised more funds. I feel confident and optimistic that she and I can realise our dreams." - Vidyamala Burch
The Trustees are very excited about the plans to award more bursaries for both courses and teacher training. We plan to enable working with more partners, charities and trusts & foundations to reach people with long-term health conditions, the young and the old and those many people who are only just getting by / hanging onto their lives and are in need of support and new skills.
I am amazed by the reach of Breathworks with over 400 fully accredited teachers; half in the UK and the other half spread around the world across 22 countries. I have been lucky enough to talk to some of the people who have made this happen and are spreading mindfulness globally. A decade ago a course started in Valencia, with all the materials translated into Spanish, was then taken to packed houses of 80 participants a time in Mexico! This dedication and the rise in interest in mindfulness means there are now 80 qualified Spanish speaking teachers, from Buenos Aires to Madrid. Another trainer fell in love with the Breathworks method of mindfulness on the second week of their course, instantly signed up to learn to teach and then took the course online to run real time sessions with participants both in the UK and India.
Learning more about the great work funded by The Foundation has been so inspiring. It has been moving to talk with some of the 60 individuals who have received bursaries this year, enabling them to deepen their own mindfulness practice, and how passionate they are to share its benefits with others. Gail, from St. Michael’s Hospice near Hereford, so affected me as I heard her talk about how she had difficulty convincing the hospice to allow her to train, and then as she worked with people near the end of life, how they saw great benefits from the mindfulness courses The Breathworks Foundation funded and agreed to fund a second employee to learn to teach. Now Gail can spend most of her time one-to-one with patients at their bedsides, whilst Mark runs courses, with double the numbers attending. The three-year funding has allowed over 100 people to learn mindfulness in a suitable setting for just the cost of the books, and mindfulness is now part of the Hospice’s culture.
Gail and Vidyamala at St. Michael's Hospice, Hereford
I just finished attending an eight-week Mindfulness for Health course, gaining much personally as I learn to enjoy my present moment more and more. It’s inspiring to see how my fellow course participants are in less pain and smiling more and more each week as they experience life anew through the varied techniques and teachings we are sharing.
You will be hearing more about The Foundation as we launch various fundraising initiatives to raise our goal of £100,000 by next summer. Please do get in touch if you would like to get involved and of course it goes without saying we would be delighted if you felt able to give to support The Breathworks Foundation’s great work, especially during the season of goodwill – no amount too small or too large. Just click here to go to the donation part of our website.
Lastly, we wanted to take this opportunity to send a special note of thanks to the three donors from our first official fundraising request to course participants, back in September. Your contributions were a real encouragement to the Breathworks team.