LEAF International | India

Located in Kerela, India | Founded 2009 

Why India? Wilmington Yoga Center had a relationship with an orphanage in southern India, and offered trips to this area. In addition, the leaders of the Yoga Center, Kristen and Loren, were LEAF Festival goers and presenters. Collaborative conversations organically ensued, and they along with Sarah Hipp took the first LEAF International Prototype to catalyze and help organize a music program at the orphanage.

“This program is transforming the lives of these girls and helping them heal, sing and dream of a better future.”

Sarah Hipp

LI Coordinator, LEAF

Program Overview

LEAF International partnered with the foudner of the Wilmington Yoga Center, Kristen Cooper, to support the creation of this music program. Kristen is a member of the LEAF community, and visits India often. She approached the Home of Hope Orphanage to begin this project. In this partnership, LEAF International served as the inspiration and catalyst to begin two music programs in Kerala in southern India. This orphanage is home to orphaned and abused girls, many of whom were child prostitutes or beggars blinded by the Mafia to accrue more sympathy and money. The female program includes instruction in traditional dancing and rehearsing for the marching band. The co-ed program provides keyboard lessons to 22 students three times a week and guitar lessons to 13 students twice a week. The lessons pass on traditions to the younger generations while fostering creativity

The Impact

Through the project, students gain:

  • Musical skills
  • Traditional dancing skills
  • Increased self esteem
  • Keyboard and guitar instruction
  • A safe way to express their creativity
  • Respect for their culture and traditions
Meet a LEAF International Student!

“Reena was six years old when she was brought to Home of Hope. She and her mother, a mental patient, came to Kerala from Bhopal and had a very difficult time sLIINDIA-kidsurviving. Reena fell into the hands of the beggar Mafia, who blinded her left eye and severely damaged her right eye by poking a darning needle into it. This cruel act was done to make her a “better” beggar. The sisters took her to the eye doctor, but they weren’t able to do much due to the damage done to her nerves in the left eye. Even with what has happened in her past, and her limited vision, Reena has grown into a happy child at Home of Hope. She is in the 5th grade, speaks Hindi fluently, and has become friendly with the sisters. She is a delight to all at the orphanage.”   -from Home of Hope


From music instruments to child sponsorships, our people-centered programs depend on generous givers like you to grow and thrive. Donate today! 100% of your gift goes directly to support music and arts education programs in the country of your choosing.


Project Highlights

The students won first place in All English Group Song at the State Competition!


Featured Partners

Wilmington Yoga Center: a true community “center” of yoga, open to people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities that wish to deepen their understanding of yoga and healthy lifestyle practices.


Home of Hope Orphanage: The orphanage provides a safe haven for hope and trust by addressing children’s physical, educational, medical and moral needs. There they are free to play and laugh. They stay until they are adopted, married or ready to live independently.



The Culture of Kerala

Kerala is a state in the south-west region of India on the Malabar Coast. Production of pepper and natural rubber are important in this region. In the agricultural sector, coconut, tea, coffee, cashew and spices are important. Kerala is a state in flux where caste and gender still influence social mobility and women still do not have full equality. Kerala’s geographical isolation from the rest of the country has resulted in development of a distinctive lifestyle, art, architecture, language, literature and social institutions.