Our Work in
Health & Wholeness

Olympia Auset

“I am tired of seeing people suffer and die because of what they don’t know or don’t have.”

Olympia believes wholeheartedly that the easiest way to change a life is to change a diet. Unfortunately, in her native South LA, fresh food has historically been scarce. “I would spend two hours or more on a bus each week to get to a grocery store that had healthy, organic options,” she says, “but fast food chains and liquor stores were on every corner.” She dreamed of opening a visionary oasis in the middle of this food desert; a non-profit organization equal parts grocery store, farmer’s market, and nutrition counsel.

A 2016 grant from The Pollination Project helped her with promotion, raising awareness, purchasing reusable bags, and web development.

Today, Olympia’s dream – Suprmrkt- is a thriving reality, offering low-cost subscription boxes of healthy produce and regular organic grocery pop-up events. Olympia’s work is serving as a model for other cities facing similar challenges, and has garnered national media attention.

Umra Omar

“If I can not take care of myself and my own people, then who will?”

Umra is a native of the Bajuni community in Kenya who traveled abroad for her education. Ten years later, her “restless heart turned back towards home” and she bought a one-way ticket to return to the pristine islands of her youth.

What she quickly realized was that the isolation that made her homeland so special also presented major challenges for access to healthcare. For many of the residents of the islands along the Lamu archipelago, basic and preventative medical care is unattainable, and militant extremism means that the resources within these communities are often threatened.

In response to this, Umra founded ‘Safari Doctors,’ a group of volunteers who bring free medical care by boat to the islands’ increasingly isolated people. Each month, her team sets sail in a vessel loaded with medicine and conducts mobile clinics across at least 15 remote villages, reaching over 1,000 patients. The Pollination Project provided the first seed grant to Umra, whose work has blossomed since. In 2017, she was recognized as “The United Nationals in Kenya Person of the Year Award.”

Nicole Cardoza

“I want to create space for teachers and students to breathe.”

Nicole Cardoza has a goal for 2020: to help 10,000 educators bring yoga and mindfulness to their classrooms. In 2014, The Pollination Project supported her “Yoga Foster” program with a seed grant.

At that time, Nicole was a tech professional who was volunteering as a yoga teacher in public schools. “In my volunteer work, I saw kids becoming fit, inspired, and creative. I saw their behavior improve. I knew this had to happen,” she remembers.

Today, Yoga Foster offers free or low-cost training for educators to learn the fundamentals of mindfulness movement. They can access thoughtfully curated lesson plans and self-care resources. To date, Yoga Foster has touched 60,000 students, trained 2,900 educators, and launched in 500 schools.