Right now, today, there are an estimated 3 million people in Ukraine with no access to electricity.
As we think about our brothers and sisters in war torn Ukraine, many sauna aficionados have been wondering “how can we help?” I’d like to announce a simple way to help, but first a little back story of how three projects have come together to create this wonderful initiative: World Sauna Aid Moment.
- Parade of Saunas
- Sauna Aid
- World Sauna Moment
Parade of Saunas
Tony Richter reached out to me a couple months ago with the idea for “a Parade of Saunas.” Those of us here in Minneapolis/St Paul could open our backyard saunas, and people could pay a fee, receive a map of participating saunas, and visit them. This is a riff on the existing Parade of Homes tour that happens here in town.
You can read about the Richter family backyard sauna build and the “300 club sauna” here.
I thought long and hard about the Parade of Saunas concept, and shared with Tony “it’s a great idea, and I think there is a higher cause here with the potential for fundraising.”
Sauna Aid – a visit with Mikkel Aaland
Mikkel Aaland is my mentor in sauna. He has been a two time guest on the Sauna Talk podcast. You can learn more about his decades involvement in thermic bathing, including the writing of his iconic book Sweat. Most recently, Mikkel has been one of the key drivers of philanthropic dedication to Sauna Aid. Sauna Aid is a globally focused non profit, a multi country initiative, “sponsored by the International Sauna Association (ISA), to provide movable sauna facilities and supportive services to people facing natural and man-made disasters.” Sauna Aid has rubbed off on me, and now I hope Mikkel’s passion towards helping others rubs off on you too.
October 2022, Mikkel and Lukas from Pixxla Sauna drove a donated container sauna to the Ukrainian border. Mikkel led the fundraising campaign to pay for this sauna. Right now, this sauna is in Ukraine. I like to imagine Ukrainian citizens benefiting from a good sauna session in their time of cold and despair.
World Sauna Moment
Rewind to Covid lockdown time, early spring 2020. Public saunas were all shut down, and pretty much everything else around the world was shut down also. We were all taking saunas alone. Or with family. I thought to myself, “what if we all took a sauna on the same day? Alone, but together in unity. World Sauna Moment was born. People from all over the sauna world participated. Many joined Zoom calls and shared their endorphin rushes between sauna rounds. World Sauna Moment was a unifying experience in a dark time.
And now, World Sauna Aid Moment
Here we have the convergence of Parade of Saunas and World Sauna Moment.
On this day, March 11, 2023, those of us with our own saunas, let us open our saunas for a sauna party. Let’s invite our friends for sauna, in kinship and respect to those less fortunate, like those in war torn Ukraine, any of whom who would appreciate being on the bench with us, on this day.
For our friends and invited sauna party guests, we can provide our guests warm tiding, libations, and sauna snacks and appetizers. As we pass the hat for donations, we can let our guests know that hundreds of not thousands of sauna hosts from around the world on this day will be doing the same: opening our hearts and wallets to help those less fortunate.
100% of our donations collected will go to Sauna Aid. The Sauna Aid PayPal is here and links up directly with Sauna Aid in Finland. From there, the good stewards of all our donations will go towards funding sauna tents and container saunas to be deployed in Ukraine. Also, Mikkel is leading the charge within the borders of Ukraine, helping to create production of saunas within the country. Sauna Aid is keen to create sustainable jobs and sauna business infrastructure within Ukraine.
There is no war in sauna. March 11, 2023 is our day to show we care. I will be throwing a kick ass sauna party and I want to invite and encourage you to do the same!
WORLD SAUNA AID MOMENT REQUEST:
- Throw a sauna party
- Collect donations
- Paypal your donations to Sauna Aid.
Of Note: the whole project is originally organized by International Sauna Association ISA (Mikkel is the Honorary member) and approved by the ISA Board of Directors. NASS is the national member of ISA in USA. The two first saunas were Actually financed by the members of ISA . The major donator has been Japan Sauna Association JSSA. They were also involved with the first project after Fukushima accident.