Project Air Rwanda Flag

  • Award Entered:
    Best New Project
  • Parent Organisation:
    Project Air
  • Project Host Nation:
    Rwanda
  • Overview of Project:
    Project Air pursues the innovative strategy of using yoga as a form of psycho-physiotherapy to aid survivors of sexual violence and their families. Project Air’s approach reflects its conviction that yoga acts as a strong palliative and boost to the physical and mental health of survivors of gender-based violence and its perpetrators, who learn the benefits of self-control over violence. Acting in concert and as a complement to existing local mental-health interventions, Project Air Rwanda—Project Air’s first county-based initiative--works with HIV+ women and families to help stanch the effects of sexual violence, which harms not only families across generations, but also communities, and reinforces other forms of violence at all levels of society. Focussing directly on the body, Project Air Rwanda links movement to breathing -- a powerful portal to the autonomic nervous system. This combined emphasis helps reawaken participants’ sense of their physical possibilities, and teaches them to calm themselves by means of breathing—an invaluable tool with applications far beyond a yoga class. As a result, sleep and appetite improve, as do physical health and overall well-being. Improvements in physical well-being, moreover, translate into crucial changes of mood, which alter one’s relationship to oneself and others.

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