This month is dedicated to Pilates lovers everywhere! Started by Benjamin Degenhardt, the purpose of March Mat-ness is to celebrate the creation of the Pilates method and the original mat order of exercises from Joseph Pilates's book, Return to Life.
The beauty of Pilates On Demand is that you can take my classes anywhere, which means we have plenty of opportunity to take part in March Mat-ness this month. So where is the BEST place you've taken me yet?!
Send me a picture from where you are celebrating March Mat-ness this year or feel free to post and tag @pilateswithsarahpowellshaff!
I hope you take time to appreciate the beauty of the Pilates method and all that it has done for your body this month. And I hope you enjoy the new drop of classes!
This month, 20% of our proceeds goes to
The White Helmets.
When the bombs rain down, the White Helmets (also known as the Syria Civil Defense) rush in. In a place where public services no longer function, these humanitarian volunteers risk their lives to help anyone in need – regardless of their religion or politics. Known for their distinctive headwear, the rescue workers operate in the most dangerous place on earth and have saved more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.
Former bakers, tailors, engineers, pharmacists, painters, carpenters, students and many more professions besides, the White Helmets are volunteers from all walks of life. Many have paid the ultimate price for their compassion – 252 have been killed while saving others. As frontline humanitarians, they are protected by international humanitarian law. Although they work exclusively in areas outside of government control, they have saved lives from all sides of the conflict, including that of government soldiers. Their inspiring work has earned them recognition at the highest international levels and they have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times.
The White Helmets’ motto is taken from the Quran: 'to save a life is to save all of humanity'. In a conflict where too many have chosen violence, the White Helmets wake up every day to save the lives others are trying so hard to take.
The White Helmets is led by a democratically-elected Leadership Council that represents teams across the country, headed by Raed al Saleh who was formerly the Head of the White Helmets in Idlib, northern Syria.
The work of the White Helmets has expanded in response to the needs of the communities they serve, now providing essential services to millions of people. Their work includes fixing electrical grids, maintaining sewage works, clearing rubble from roads, removing unexploded weapons, as well as community education and preparation for future attacks.
The White Helmets have had female volunteers since their formation – now there are 221 women who are trained in medical care and light search and rescue work.
Like their male counterparts, the female White Helmets started out doing search and rescue work. Seeing the needs of their communities, the female teams have now expanded their work to provide trauma counseling, community education to help children and families prepare for attacks and recover afterwards, and in areas where there are few medical services, they have opened women maternal health clinics.
Their data and eyewitness testimonies, as well as photographic evidence, have been vital sources of information for international investigations into war crimes compiled by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and human rights groups. These crimes include the use of chemical weapons, the collective punishment of civilians through starvation sieges and the targeting of hospitals and medical facilities. The leading perpetrators of these crimes, the Syrian government and its ally Russia, are targeting the White Helmets on the ground and attempting to discredit their work online and in the media.
The White Helmets dream of an end to their work pulling bodies from under the rubble and a time when their beloved Syria is at peace. When this day comes the White Helmets want to play their part in rebuilding a Syria where everyone's rights are realized.
Already they are dealing with some of the most visible remnants of the war – unexploded weapons. They have trained teams who are clearing farmlands so that farmers can start growing the crops needed to feed communities. They are restoring schools so children can return to learn in safety and securing roads so that everyday journeys are no longer a matter of life and death.
Thousands of people are confirmed to have died already in Syria in a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that has toppled houses in every city and village across northern Syria and southern Turkey.
White Helmets volunteers saved almost 3,000 people from the destruction caused by the earthquake. Now, they start the next phase of their emergency response: recovery and rehabilitation.
The White Helmets' response hasn’t stopped just because the cries for help from under the rubble have. Help them provide urgent support to Syria's earthquake survivors.
To learn more about their work and to give directly to their organization, visit their website.