Disaster & Trauma Relief

Over 2,600 aid workers and survivors benefited from trauma relief in the US

In response to natural and man-made disasters, The Art of Living and IAHV collects funds and goods for immediate material aid and care, provides and supports trauma relief and stress-management programs, and supports long-term rehabilitation.

Immediate Material Aid and Service

IAHV US collects funds and goods to support emergency services and material aid in the aftermath of disasters provided by other IAHV country organizations and its partner organization, the Art of Living Foundation. These emergency services provide food, clothes, medicine, and shelter. Doctors, counselors and other physical and mental health experts form an integral part of such immediate relief efforts.

Trauma Relief

For survivors of disasters, who have experienced severe physical and emotional trauma, material help alone is not sufficient. Alleviating the trauma and helping people to reclaim their lives is essential. IAHV’s Trauma Relief programs – the Breath Water Sound Program and the Art of Living Course – teach participants how to process their emotions and stress through the breath, to shift their attention away from reliving the past towards future possibilities. Participants leave the workshop with stress and trauma management techniques, healthy coping strategies, stronger community bonds and a sense of personal power.

Long-term Rehabilitation: Sustainable Community Development

True relief can only happen when disaster survivors are completely rehabilitated – physically and emotionally. To support communities in developing sustainable solutions, IAHV’s global organizations and volunteers work in villages and with local communities, building homes, sanitation systems, roads, schools, vocational training centers and other necessary infrastructure. IAHV-US raises funds to support these ventures, including for the 5H program in India.  

Featured Disaster & Trauma Relief Projects

  • 2017 Las Vegas Shooting
  • 2017 Sonoma County: Wildfire Relief
  • 2017 Mexico: Earthquake Relief
  • 2017 Texas: Hurricane Harvey Relief
  • 2017 Puerto Rico: Hurricane Maria Relief
  • 2017 Florida & Northern Caribbean: Hurricane Irma
  • 2009 Refugee Integration
  • 2006 Hurricane Katrina
  • 2001 9/11 Relief
  • During the fall of 2017, the US experienced horrific mass shootings in several states - the worst by far being the Las Vegas atrocity in which 58 people were killed and hundreds more wounded. A team of volunteers from the Art of Living, a worldwide non-profit organization teaching trauma and stress-relief programs, arrived in Las Vegas one week after the shooting to offer free workshops and hold a city-wide event called Vegas Meditates, to facilitate the healing process in the Vegas community.

    Read More

  • Upcoming Relief Initiative

    Wildfires broke out in Northern California on Sunday, October 8, and killed more than 40 people as firefighters continue to work on extinguishing the quick-moving flames. The outbreak is now one of the deadliest in the state’s history, affecting regions like Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Yuba County and Napa County. The Art of Living Foundation is currently working to offer immediate relief and to contribute to the long-term recovery effort.

  • Upcoming Relief Initiative

    The 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which struck Mexico on September 19, 2017 was the deadliest to hit the nation in more than three decades. The seismic event has resulted in over 300+ deaths, hundreds of collapsed buildings and scores of people missing. Thousands have lost everything. The rescue effort has been powered by the support of volunteers from the Art of Living Foundation showing up spontaneously to offer help in every way that they can.

  • Upcoming Relief Initiative

    Hurricane Harvey, a powerful Category 4 hurricane struck Texas with winds of 130 mph making natural disaster history with catastrophic flooding.  Thousands have lost their homes and livelihood with no-where to turn.  As the shock of loss wears off, many will face the difficult challenge of rebuilding their lives. The Art of Living Foundation is currently working on ground to offer immediate relief and to contribute to the long-term recovery effort to support those caught in the record-breaking flood brought in by Hurricane Harvey.

  • Upcoming Relief Initiative

    Hurricane Maria wrecked Puerto Rico with a direct hit as a Category 5 hurricane and winds measuring over 150mph. Now, the hurricane aftermath has turned into a humanitarian crisis. The island still has little power and water, fuel and food are still extremely scarce. The Art of Living Foundation is currently working to offer immediate relief and would like to provide breathing, yoga and meditation techniques to help victims cope with the trauma.

  • Upcoming Relief Initiative

    Hurricane Irma was the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. Before the storm made landfall, the largest mass evacuation in the country’s history took place from southern Florida — six million people were advised to leave under the mandatory evacuation. Many homes and buildings were completely destroyed and many lives were lost. The Art of Living Foundation will be reaching out to these communities to provide stress relief programs thanks to your generous donation. 

  • In the US, IAHV launched the Refugee Integration and Self-Empowerment (RISE) Program in 2009 to assist Bhutanese refugees in Atlanta to handle high levels of trauma and stress. These refugees have faced challenges integrating into their new circumstances in the United States.

    RISE offers:

    • Trauma Relief through Breath Water Sound, and Art of Living courses for youth and adults
    • Women’s Job Training and Employment in Home cleaning; jewelry making, knitting and sewing
    • Tutoring and Mentoring
    • Access to Transportation
    • Fundraising for women’s projects

    RISE is currently working in:

    • Atlanta – 750 refugees
    • Houston – 50 refugees
    • Austin – 72 refugees
    • Minneapolis – 45 refugees
    • Cleveland – 29 refugees
    • Boston – 41 refugees
    • Boise – 35 refugees

    Efforts are focused on:

    • Trauma relief:  Breath Water Sound trauma relief program; Art of Living Part I course for adults; YES! course and Art Excel for youth and children.  The latter two courses focus on stress management, self-empowerment, leadership, and service to one’s community.
    • Economic self-sufficiency:  Home cleaning on-the-job training for women; jewelry making, knitting and sewing projects for women.
    • Mobility: Facilitate networking with community leaders to find funding for vehicles, transportation for trauma relief programs and preferred places of worship.
    • Financial assistance:  Networking among community leaders to locate funding for women’s projects, tutoring in English, mentoring.

    Program Outcomes

    “It’s been a month that I’m feeling like [I’m]…without any destination…Now I came here and took this class [and] gained more happiness…. Now I’m fully conscious and willing to do anything by keeping healthy and happy.” ~ Female RISE participant

    Thus far, the Bhutanese people have expressed deep gratitude for the yoga and breathing techniques. They attest to experiencing increased energy, more peace of mind, less tension, relief from chronic pain, and increased happiness, and a sense of gratitude. They become empowered to be more successful. Many of them say that they will share this program within the community so that others may experience the same benefits. Another benefit the course provides them is the opportunity to share this experience with many others in the community, in a more social setting – they enjoy this very much.

  • IAHV trainers from around the US initiated Trauma Relief Programs starting just days after Hurricane Katrina. Establishing a center in New Orleans for 2 years, IAHV volunteers taught Trauma Relief programs to 2,600 aid workers, children, and adults. During the course of the Hurricane Katrina effort, 161 university students were trained in delivering Breath Water Sound through Youth Leadership Training Program.

    Program Brochure


  • New York City

    Post September 11

    Helping New Yorkers Take a Deep Breath:

    From Trauma Workshops to Food, Art of Living Volunteers Bring Relief

    NEW YORK, NY, Oct. 18, 2001 –  “I will always remember how this city rallied around its firefighters during this tragedy,” says Battalion 32 Fire Chief James Bossert in his letter to the Art of Living Foundation’s New York chairman Noah Hoffeld. “But I will remember most of all the contribution of your group.”  

    Within hours of the World Trade Center attacks, Hoffeld had gathered people who had taken the Art of Living Foundation’s stress reduction programs in his neighborhood and went to work on setting up public trauma workshops--and on making hundreds of Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, which they brought to the firefighters that day.  

    “All the firefighters were using the Hooper Street station as a staging area,” says Hoffeld. “When we showed up with our duffel bags filled with sandwiches, we saw hundreds of firefighters sitting on the curbs and on the closed off street, looking exhausted. In dealing so thoroughly with the disaster, they had not been able to get any food for their members.”  

    For the Sunday following the attacks, the New York team arranged a music and guided meditation event in New York’s Union Square Park that drew more than 2,000 people.  

    Within a few days, other Art of Living Foundation volunteers from around the country came to help, and workshops to alleviate trauma and stress have since been offered to New Yorkers on an ongoing basis at no charge. These four-session Art of Living Courses include a variety of powerful tools that participants can practice at home, including breathing techniques that help people feel more centered and calm. To date over 1000 people participated in the free trauma relief programs.

    Space for the Lower Manhattan workshops was donated to the non-profit Art of Living Foundation by the Holiday Inn Martinique on Broadway. “We knew this was something that was greatly needed,” says hotel executive Tara Williams. “We are all New Yorkers here, and we thought it was important to do what we could to help the city and nation heal.”

    Notes attorney Allan Kirsten, a participant in a recent workshop: “It was a chance to purge the sadness from my system. (There was) a real serenity, combined with a feeling of energy.”

    Passion for Pets owner Dianna Butler says that since her workshop, she is “more centered and handling the stressful times a lot better. In the past four days, five people have commented on how much better I look.”

    America Back on Track program

    The Art of Living Foundation was invited to participate on "Back on Track America," a coalition aimed at getting businesses across America back on track in the post-Sept. 11th business climate. Working in concert with Back on Track America partners such as SBTV, America Online, Amtrak, and others, Art of Living Foundation's team of stress-management specialists took a ride to several cities across America, providing stress-management services to small businesses and their employees.  

    "Life is stressful for all of us these days, and a meditative practice not only helps people deal more effectively with stress and anxiety, it also aids mental clarity and focus - qualities that any business can appreciate. Art of Living Foundation was at the top of my list - I know their programs, I respect their credentials and experience in this area. I'm very pleased to have them as part of this coalition." – Jane Applegate, CEO &Founder, SBTV