Sales professional Elyse Leeds Acanda ’03 used the power of yoga to raise $20,000 in one year to help fight sex trafficking in emerging markets. But her campaign did not end there. Acanda also visited India in February 2013 with other activists, who each raised at least $20,000 in 2012 on the Bare Witness Humanitarian Tour. “You don’t just raise money and throw it at a problem,” she said. “You actually go there and work on the ground.”

Acanda, vice president of business development with Technomedia in Washington, D.C., is part of a group called Off the Mat, Into the World, which uses yoga to promote grassroots social change. Each year the group sponsors an international service project called the Global Seva Challenge. Acanda decided to get involved in 2012 to show gratitude for the blessing of her young daughter.

“Millions of girls are taken from their families each year, either through deception or outright theft,” said Acanda, a Spanish speaker who has lived in Mexico, Spain and Cuba. “I feel their mothers’ pain and anguish, the not knowing, never to see or hear from their daughters again.” In addition to offering donation-only yoga clinics, Acanda sold T-shirts and wristbands to reach her $20,000 goal