Good Karma Projects are volunteer projects and media-making missions while on yoga retreat. A Karma yoga adventure. 

 

Our projects stem from the practice of Karma Yoga, selfless service, simply giving back without expecting anything in return. We believe this spirit and practices saves our world and heals our suffering. We are a international network of friends donating our skills for causes we believe in. Our intention is to empower women around the world by training them in media, creating safe space to share their stories, and give them opportunities to donate their time to help others. We create media by women, about women and for humanity. 

In 2015, the GKPs hosted the first documentary filmmaking bootcamp for women in the Himalayan mountains of northern India. We were a team of 13 international women and girls, aged 14-64. The GKPs sponsored 4 teenage girls from a local children's home and one elder artist from the USA. We created the short film, Nari Shakti: Women of Tirthan Valley, in partnership with Sunshine Himalayan Adventures, an ECO-TOURISM agency run by brothers, Ankit and Panki Sood, BTCA NGO, along many volunteers from the community. The purpose of the film was to inspire local women in the Himalayan valleys to develop their savings & credit groups and increase their income generating efforts, and document our times with women's perspective. Since 2015, it's been shown to almost 10,000 visitors and locals of the Great Himlayans: small women's groups from villages, government officials, International NGOs and tourists throughout the Himalayan region. The film is in Hindi and the local dialect of the Tirthan Valley and is still being shown today.  View below.

 

GOOD KARMA PROJECTS: INDIA 2015

15 min Short Film: Nari Shakti: Women of Tirthan Valley

 

The Good Karma Projects had two missions for 2015:  Documentary Filmmaking Bootcamp for women and The Good Karma Yoga Retreat

  • Documentary Filmmaking Bootcamp for women. We train both local and international women and girls, basic skills of documentary filmmaking and produce one short film intended to benefit the local community. Our focus is telling the stories of remarkable women who are making positive impact in our world today. 
  • The Good Karma Yoga Retreat integrates volunteer projects during a 2 week yoga retreat in Great Himalayan Mountains in northern India.  We create a culturally immersive yoga retreat while we work on volunteer projects that serve the local community. 
 

Girls from RADHA Children's Home, an NGO near Manali, India. 2008

 


GOOD KARMA PROJECTS 2015 OVERVIEW

 

Good Karma Yoga Retreat

From June 1-15, 2015, we will visit the Great Himalayan mountains of northern India. Our service projects will be in the Kullu valley and the Greater Himalayan National Park, a newly appointed UNESCO world heritage site. Our retreats include morning meditation, daily yoga classes, organic vegetarian meals, trekking adventures with kids from orphanages, options for Ayurvedic massages and consultations, travel photography and video workshops. For a few hours each day, we will volunteer with various grass roots organizations such as orphanages, women's cooperatives, vocational training programs and schools. Volunteers can offer a variety of services including: tutoring children, art projects, small business assistance and marketing, building and construction skills, video and photography documentation. The Karma offerings will vary based on the needs of the community and volunteers that choose to participate.

After first arrival, our participants will receive educational & cultural awareness classes on local customs and courtesies. Classes include, Hindu language essentials, historical, political and biodiversity overviews. We are ecologically conscious and strive to leave the places we visit better than when we arrived. We offer several training lectures on customary behavior in sacred temples, how to greet teachers and how to photograph people with respect and cultural sensitivity. We want your experience to be a cultural immersion as well as a spiritual retreat.  

Documentary Filmmaking Bootcamp for Women

From June 1-15, 2015, our exciting 2 week filmmaking bootcamp will result in short documentary films produced by our team of women filmmakers, to be shared with the village on our last night. We’ll offer instruction and hands-on experience in video, audio, and photography with an emphasis on conducting compelling interviews and shooting cinematic b-roll. We'll invite students from around the world to participate, as well as give scholarship to girls from the local area, creating a truly diverse team and cross cultural experience for all. In 2015, our ages ranged form 14 to 64, all women.

Our first short film is about women and villages who live the buffer zones of the Great Himalayan National Park, and have created successful savings & credit groups, increasing income generation and the quality of life for their families. After the borders of the Greater Himalayan National Park were closed to the local indigenous population in 2010, these women who were considered illiterate, learned small business skills, created a fair trade businesses and empowered their whole community. We will tell their story and share it with the world.

Filmmaking is a great team effort and in the end, we'll make an important documentary film by, for and about women. There is a great imbalance in our film culture today in terms of how women are represented and the number of women making films. Our goal is to offer education and hands on experience to many women through media making bootcamps. As a direct result, more women will be able to share their stories through the mediums of film and photography documenting our times with an essential women's perspective.  We can change the lack of media representation of women today by training more women media makers and encouraging more women to share their valuable life stories with the world.

 

Please visit www.goodkarmaprojects.org for more details or contact Ana Grillo at anagrillosf@gmail.com for inquiries.


 

Women of RADHA NGO, an income generating women's cooperative in Manali, India. 

photos by Ana Grillo for RADHA NGO © 2008

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GOOD KARMA YOGA RETREAT: DAILY SCHEDULE

  • morning meditation
  • hatha yoga class
  • organic vegetarian morning meal 
  • free time 
  • Karma yoga: approx. 4 hours service with afternoon chai and sweet break
  • optional yoga class
  • evening meal
  • optional evening Sangha or community gatherings every 3 days for sharing, reviews and adjustments.

Our program grew as a volunteer project, not for capital gain, therefore, we will make our retreats as affordable as we can.

* FOR INDIVIDUALS ALREADY TRAVELING IN INDIA. Travelers are welcome to join at any time during our one month program but will be responsible for their own lodging if our accommodations are full. We will assist you in finding alternative housing. Home-Stays are highly encouraged and can be arranged. Special arrangements can be made for customizing your own time frame.

 

How the Good Karma Project came to be... In 2008, while traveling 6 months in India, Ana volunteered for the Kullu Project in Manali and the greater Kullu valley, creating the photographs for their first website.The Kullu Project is a grass roots umbrella organization who supports several orphanages, schools, vocational programs and women’s cooperative groups living in the Kullu Valley region. She photographed 4 different orphanages, 3 schools, a women’s cooperative and boy’s vocational training program. She was inspired to return one day and make it possible for others to volunteer, while on a yoga retreat in this beautiful valley. The Good Karma Project was born in 2008 and is offering it's first good karma yoga retreats and women's filmmaking bootcamps, this year in Spring / Summer of 2015.  contact: anagrillosf@gmail.com for details.

Kullu Project’s website

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