For 8 years, Off the Mat sponsored an international service project called the Global Seva Challenge. The Seva Challenge was a transformational journey that built community, provoked awareness and action around global issues, and raised significant funds that supported communities in crisis. With a focus on listening closely to the needs of locals in the recipient country, the Global Seva Challenge program saw incredible success, raising over $3.5 million for organizations creating real impact in countries around the world.
OTM empowers Seva Challenge participants to raise significant funds through grassroots fundraising and community building.
The grassroots fundraising process of the Seva Challenge builds leadership skills and cultivates dedication and passion for taking direct action.
The Seva Challenge trips are an opportunity for participants to have an in-depth immersion into trauma-informed cultural awareness, witnessing firsthand the effects of global issues and an inspiring experience of projects that are successful and sustainable.
Participants who raise significant funds are invited to join OTM on a powerful journey called the Bare Witness Humanitarian Tour where they spend two weeks working directly with the organizations their funds have helped to support. During these trips, participants connect with local organizations that are meeting short term needs while also identifying long term solutions for underserved areas.
After the trip’s completion, OTM and our partner The Village Experience provide guidance and assistance to those participants who continue to work in support of our Seva Challenge partners and projects in that country.
2015 GLOBAL SEVA CHALLENGE: KENYA
The Global Seva Challenge 2015 was focused on raising awareness and providing support to women facing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Early Childhood Marriage (ECM) in Kenya.
It is estimated that, in Kenya alone, more than 40% of women between the ages of 15 and 19 (and over half of women above the age of 35) have been subjected to some form of female genital mutilation (FGM) or early childhood marriage (ECM), which are dangerous, oppressive and potentially fatal for millions of girls worldwide.
Global Seva Challenge efforts are done in solidarity with local community organizers and groups. We were excited to work with the Samburu Girls Foundation and the Tasaru Ntomonok Initiative, both of whose primary objectives are to rescue girls from child marriage, circumcision, domestic violence, and physical/sexual abuse in Kenya. They also work to offer and educate groups on alternative rites of passage ceremonies.
Our longtime friends & partners at The Village Experience / The Village Cooperative (TVE/TVC) coordinated the distribution of funds raised by OTM to our partners in Kenya for these projects.
Bare Witness Humanitarian Tour
After much evaluation and discussion, OTM founders and staff decided to cancel the 2015 humanitarian tour to Kenya due to safety concerns in the country. This was not an easy decision to make, and we strongly support the work that both the Tasaru Ntomonok Initiative and the Samburu Girls Foundation are doing in Kenya.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS YEAR'S SEVA CHALLENGE!