We are small, powerful and ever expanding. We rely completely on a dedicated Board of Trustees and an amazing team of volunteers to develop and implement our work.
We believe in the power of community-led intervention, drawing on personal, past experience that highlights the positive impact community-based activities have in reducing dependence and facilitating healing. This is reason we promote a model of “training the trainer.”
At the moment, we are in the process of obtaining a registered charity number from the UK's Charity Commission to formalise our organisation and its charitable aims.
Julia Midland, Founder
Julia has a long history of service and a career in international policy and humanitarian aid. She has volunteered with several NGOs throughout the world and has worked in the aid sector, evaluating the efficacy of programming and assessing its impact against intended achievements. During the course of her yoga teacher training, she was exposed to numerous tools that she began to use in her daily practice for healing her own deep-seated trauma and PTSD. About half way through the training, she noticed that she was “sneaking” some of these practices in to her work in the field. Very quickly, she noticed that simply offering a basic understanding of how to connect to breath, how to find connection to the earth, and how to find strength in community, profoundly changed the energy in the room. There was a palpable sense of increased grounding and centeredness. Attention and focus in the communities improved and people began to move with a greater sense of ease, calm, and purpose.
In January 2017, Julia spent a few weeks in northern Greece volunteering with the refugee effort, where she taught two yoga classes a day to women and children in one of the camps. She witnessed first-hand the profound effect that this practice had on the participants and how much they enjoyed it. As she prepared to leave Greece, she was filled with a deep sadness that her departure would mean that these individuals would no longer be able to practice until another yoga teacher happened to volunteer in the same area. This led to the idea to form a charity that delivers trainings that empower refugees by teaching them the basics of leading a class so that this healing practice could continue regardless of volunteer skillsets and availability. To develop this idea, Julia has taken her experience working in conflict and post-conflict states, and with refugee, marginalized, and at-risk communities, and combined it with her own embodied experience of healing trauma through yogic practices. She is passionate about spreading the practices of trauma informed yoga to communities that do not otherwise access.
LEILA SADEGHEE, DIRECTOR
Leila is a truly creative soul and a gifted healer who has a keen sense of life as a transformational process of empowerment. She knows what it means to break down and to break through, so she is a skilled and supportive guide for people who want to use the practices of yoga and healing to create renewal at every level of life. Her work is supporting people in awakening to the mystery of who they truly are so they can live a life of joy, freedom, and dedication to their own highest calling.
Leila had the good fortune to be closely mentored by Hala Khouri during her yoga teacher training year, both assisting her weekly group classes and co-facilitating in a program for at-risk youth at High School for Recording Arts ('Hip Hop High'). Through Hala, Leila also become active in Off the Mat Into the World and acted as a Yoga in Action leader in London. Currently, she is the co-creator of The Practices, which creates retreats, immersive courses, and yoga teacher training to ignite spiritual self care and grounded leadership through daily meditation, yoga asana, healing foods, and profound self love.
Teena Chowdhury, Secretary
Teena began facilitating mixed ethnic spaces over 10 years ago when she began teaching English as a foreign language for free to asylum seekers in London. Teena has 15 years experience of working in not-for-profits and charities in the health sector where she has been an advocate for patients and carers. Teena hopes she can use all the insights she has gained from these experiences to help shape the OMPowerment Project so it can reach as many refugees as possible and have the biggest possible impact on their lives. Teena has completed a 200 Hour TT where she dived deep into the practices of yoga, meditation and self-care. She continues to deepen her practices every year. Look out for Teena on twitter, Facebook and Instagram posting updates and insights from OMPowerment’s work.
Jessica Green, Treasurer
Jess has worked in the communities of East London for 20 years. Since 2002 she has practiced yoga, slowly moving her work to teaching yoga full time and spending lass time sitting at a desk. She now teaches in schools: with parents, teachers and students, in her local studios in Leyton and Walthamstow, in Hackney with a special project aimed at the over 50's to reduce isolation and aid wellbeing. Jess was keen to support/participate in the Ompowerment project as she already works in London with female refugees, sharing mindfulness, meditation, movement and breathing skills to help them cope with the symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.