Annual charity gala at Nikki Beach Marbella

IMG_1067On the 16th June, the annual Maiti Nepal charity gala was held at Nikki Beach in Marbella with over 200 guests. The night was a huge success and a total of 93,000€ was raised through the ticket sale, charity auction, sponsors and other donations.

After 6 months of hard work and preparations, I am so happy that the event turned out so fantastic. What especially warms my heart is to see that more and more local companies and small businesses are getting involved in the event and comapnies that are competitors on a daily basis, join hands against the 20th century slavery and stand up together against human trafficking and the sexual abuse these women and children indure. Another beatutiful thing was that we found sponsors for 14 children on the night. The cost to sponsor a child is 650€/year and it will take the child through school, pay for their daily living costs and basic medical support. Anyone who is interested to find out more about becoming a sponsor can contact me directly.

After having been to quite a few charity galas throughout the years it is important for me to create a memorable evening with beautiful entertainment but it is very important to take the time to remind the guests of the reason we are all there. The gala is an event in honor of the women and children we are helping and they need to be in everyone´s mind throughout the night. I think we created just the perfect ambiance this night! Thank you to our main sponsors: Coliz & Murphy, Vogt Law firm and Mandala World Vacation Group.

For those of you who didn´t attend the gala, see below some photos from this beautiful night and make sure you come next year!








Fashion show charity lunch

Friday the 4th May, it was time again for the second year running ladies fashion show charity lunch against Human Trafficking! I am very competitive person so everything I do have to be better than the previous time. And of course it was 🙂 This year I also had the help of my new partner Madelaine, who recently joined my little “one-woman-band” and has been fantastic. With the support of all the amazing women that attended , me and Madelaine, raised just over 5500 euros including two children sponsorships, which is 650 euros each.

Last year we had 90 guests and this year close to 120 guests. Gunnel’s Fashion and Nina B had an amazing fashion show and being a big fan of their clothes, it was lovely to work with both Nina and Gunnel.

This year we also had the pleasure to try out a new venue, The View Bar, located at Centro Plaza, just next to both clothes shops. The food and service was great and with music by DJ Russell, the day couldn’t have been better. Well maybe the rain drops that came for a short moment could have stayed away but even so the day was a success.

Also, I made a new friend, Julie Miles. A wonderful person and a fantastic designer of jewellery. She helped us raise more money with her donation beautiful bracelets that we sold during the day. For those of you who missed them, she will be at Nikki Beach gala with us again and I also have some that she left with us until then.

Below you will find many, many photos from this fantastic event! Enjoy and have a lovely day !!! ©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©



World Children’s Prize

img_6350.jpgA special invitation that meant so much to me. It is my second year working with Maiti Nepal against human trafficking and violation of human rights of the child. It has been the best, most meaningful time of my life so to get an invitation to attend the World Children’s Prize ceremony lead by HRH Queen Silvia of Sweden was something extraordinary. The prize is often mentioned as the Children’s Nobel peace prize. The ceremony is held in the beautiful Gripsholms Castle in Mariefred, Sweden followed by a banquet dinner at the Gripsholms värdshus.

Maiti Nepal themselves, won the award in 2002 and has since then been part of the child jury each year. Many children around the world take part in this global vote, and the biggest year ever 7.1 million children voted. It is not only in western and calm countries where the votes take place. During the ceremony this year, we were informed that close to 300.000 children in the instabil country of Sierra Leone had still managed to get to their voting station to make themselves heard. That is something.

The child jury is flown in for the official ceremony and this year Neeta from Maiti Nepal was there together with children from Philippines, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Congo, Israel, Mozambique and Pakistan. In total 12 children from 12 different countries and all of them specialists in the field of the human rights of the child due to their own experiences. The evening took us on an emotional roller coaster with beautiful music and dance performances by children from gang ridden high crime suburbs in Cape Town along with footage from this year global voting around the world. We were also presented with some horrific first hand stories. Of course the biggest issue is the sexual exploitation of girls but I want to tell a story that affected me a lot. The story of Dieu-Merci from Congo. “One day on his way to school the school bus got stopped and gerilla soldiers came on board. They took all the little boys out in the forest and forced them to become soldiers. Dieu-Merci was 7 years old when this happened. He spent 4 years in the jungle as a boy soldier. He told us that he tried to escape once but was captured and after that, he never dared to try again. One night they got captured in a fight with military soldiers. “All gerilla was told to get down on our knees, and they started executing us one by one”, he says and continues: “When I was next, I suddenly screamed: I am not a soldier, I am a boy and I was kidnapped.”

The military heard Dieu-Merci and he was spared and rescued. Now 5 years later he is working to help other boys going through what happened to him. This story is only one of the captivating stories we were told first hand from the children at the gala at Gripsholms Castle in Mariefred, Sweden.

I learned a lot during this evening from both the children and the nominated. This year’s nominated heroes have all 3 done amazing work to help exposed children. What an achievement in life. I salute them! Gabriel Mejía Montoya, Rachel Lloyd and Valeriu Nicolae.

I will leave you to read about their amazing work yourselves on World Children’s Prize Foundation.


First event of the year

Tonight is the night! Gibraltar here I come 🙂

It has been a hectic last month in order to get this gala just right. Being the first time I move my events out of Marbella and seek a new audience, I have had to work very hard. To organise a charity event without spending any money is not always easy but for me this is also half the challenge. I insist that nobody should make a profit out of charity so I will only work with people who do this out of the goodness of their heart.

First step, find a suitable venue; beautiful, luxurious, professional and willing to do a breakeven cost for their menu. I found my perfect venue at the elegant yacht hotel Sunborn Gibraltar. Next step is entertainment and what is better than a fashion show? So I contacted my great friend Caroline Azzi who makes the most beautiful custom made jewellery and beach wear to take on this event with me. We were recommended to contact the most elegant dress, wedding and gala wear shop on Gibraltar to take part in the show; Diamond Occasions and I am so pleased they said yes. From here on we were 3 strong girls on board to create something amazing for this big night and I think we did it!

A big part is to find the right guests for an event and that is also very hard when you don’t have the contacts. I approached some of the key women around Gibraltar and Sotogrande and when they heard about Maiti Nepal, they were more than happy to attend the event and also invite friends.  Working with this charity never disheartens me, even though I see all the torture and violence the children and women of Nepal go though. I always try to focus on seeing the good. I see all the beautiful people that come together and work to end this crime.  I have made some fantastic new friends this last month while working on this gala. Also approaching local businesses for help with everything from auction donations, flower center pieces, welcome drinks, models for the fashion show, hair dresser and make up and the response and help has been huge. Thanks to (in no particular order)  Patricia Darch Interior, Saccone & Speed, Susan’s aesthetic service, Loveliest Flowers, Miss Gibraltar Pageant, Davinia Cano, singer Tmar, WiGoGo, Blue Sky Super cars, Bianca Zammit of Little Divas, Irene Rosenblatt, singer Claire Hawkins, hairdresser Nikki Antcliff and photographer Witto Ellul, all the models and of course Caroline Azzi and Diamond Occasions. I am so grateful for your help along the way to make this event a success!

Last but not least, the big surprise for the night is that we have a huge world star with us tonight….Sheyla Bonnick, founder of the world famous group BoneyM and she will perform together with S’Iza.

I always hold big hopes for every event I organise. Hope keeps us motivated and I truly hope we will raise a lot of money for the children of Maiti Nepal tonight ♥

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Radhika and Rohan


It has been just over a month since I returned from Maiti Nepal and what turned out to be the best thing I have ever done. Adjusting to life in Europe after what I experienced on this journey has been hard. I have found it difficult to find words to my feelings and emotions and trying to write has been almost impossible. Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook, like so many posts we see every day. It was of a young Asian girl with an old  man walking hand in hand. The photo caught my attention. It had already created a storm of comments of all sorts. I was left feeling like most people here in our Western world really haven´t got a clue. Just because a girl has a smile on her face, we think she is happy.

So today I woke up with the urge to give you all a little recommendation on a book that you should read. It is called: Radhika´s story. Incredible book.

I met Radhika and her son Rohan during my visit in Nepal and I have also found a sponsor for little Rohan who is now 12 years old. They came to Maiti Nepal when Rohan was 4 years old and still when I met Rohan, he was speaking very quietly and is very timid but with a cheeky little smile. Radhika was trafficked as a young girl and gave birth to Rohan in the brothel where she was forced to work. Often it is the children of the trafficked girls that are used to force the mum´s to comply with the brothel owners orders. Little Rohan was subsequently torture as a baby to make his mum work with a smile on her face and not cause problems.

We need to see further than what our eyes see and then we all know that no young girl would want to become a prostitute. Don´t fool yourselves please.


Journey to Maiti Nepal

File 25-11-2017, 19 13 56I have been meaning to write for weeks but it became very hectic before the trip. We packed 8 suitcases full of donated clothes and soft toys to bring to Maiti Nepal. I want to thank everyone that has helped me with this collection. I can tell you that the children were so happy with everything we brought them.

They had prepared a beautiful dance performance show in our honor and the welcome speech held by one of the girls brought up at Maiti Nepal as baby and now 18 years old and working there, made me cry. (find parts of their performance on my instagram @mariannesteneholm) Our first two days we have spent with the children at the Teresa Academy (Maiti Nepal’s school) and with the smaller children residing at the shelters. We had brought face paint to play with the pre-schoolers but our visit was so special for the children that the elder classes also wanted to join us. In the end the whole court yard was full of hundreds of children with big smiles on their faces, hugging us and asking us questions.

File 25-11-2017, 19 07 25File 25-11-2017, 19 04 25File 25-11-2017, 19 06 24File 25-11-2017, 19 20 37File 25-11-2017, 19 21 48

File 25-11-2017, 19 33 13File 25-11-2017, 19 35 13I have so many impressions and emotions going through my mind that I don’t know where to start and where to end.

For the next coming days, we will have some more serious meetings about urgent needs at Maiti Nepal shelters and which of those could be supported by the funds we have raised. I will be updating my blog with more information and photos from the trip again soon, I promise xxx

Getting ready to travel to Nepal

MAITI 2Our flights are now booked and I am so excited! We will fly out from London-Heathrow on the 21st November and be away for 2 full weeks. The flight goes via Muscat, Oman to Kathmandu with Oman Air . So far we are 4 people travelling. My sister is coming along. To share this special moment with her is just the best feeling. (Once again, I want to emphasize that all expenses for our trip is paid with our personal money, not from raised funds)

Vaccinations, hmm… I have just had them all prescribed from the Sanidad Exterior in Malaga and it is literally everything. Re-boost of Hepatitis A and B along with a Tetanus boost. Then cholera, tyfoid fever and dengue fever. Malaria is not necessary all over Nepal, only in certain areas, so for this I bring some tablets that you take only when/if travelling to the red zones.

I have so far raised close to 45,000€, and I am determined to make it past my goal of 50k before the trip in November! Stay tuned for more upcoming events where you can support Maiti Nepal and help me achieve my goal or simply make your donation HERE

xxx Lots of love