A 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.
Our 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
Today on the very first of January 2017, I want to tell you about my project for this year, so please take the time to read my story below donation link. I have big hopes in my ability to make a difference for these girls. I also want you to know that I will go to Maiti Nepal’s shelters and meet the girls and show you where your money has been used. I will prove to you all that any gesture of kindness, no matter how small, will make a huge difference in someone’s life. Help by donating on: We can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone
The cruel reality is that more than 15,000 women and children a year are trafficked from Nepal and 150-300,000 Nepalese girls are currently estimated to be in brothels in India. 7- 24 years of age and servicing up to 50 men/day. Most are kept in cages. Maiti Nepal funder, Anuradha Koirala, has dedicated her life to these victims and her achievements so far are truly admirable.
Maiti Nepal focus on prevention of girl trafficking . They raid brothels to rescue victims. 496 traffickers have been convicted due to Maiti Nepals legal efforts. They go to jail for up to 18 years. Maiti Nepal also try to educate civilians as well as the police force in the high risk areas. They rehabilitate the victims and teach them new income-generation skills such as bead work, sewing, horticulture, furniture making, baking and cooking and they are provided shelter until they are ready to stand on their feet.
Maiti Nepal currently operate 12 intervention posts in the border areas to rescue the girls before reaching their end destination and with help from rescued girls, they can find the routes used and help recognize traffickers. The cost to operate a border transit home for one year is 20.000$ but the impact it makes is worth every penny.
I say: Stop Human Trafficking! If you have access to read this post, you have the means and possibility to make a difference.
“Take every child as your own daughter, and soon you will see her sorrow and then you will feel the strength that comes out of you to protect them” – Anuradha Koirala
In October every year we enjoy the feria of San Pedro de Alcántara. It is a big event with both parades, fun fair rides and many restaurants and party tents. It is the time for the Spanish women to bring out their flamenco dresses and dance the sevillana along the streets. You see so many colorful dresses of all shapes and forms and even many the small girls are beautifully dressed up. One day a huge parade with orchestra, voluntary scouts and horses take place through the streets of town. If you enjoy a bit of culture this is an event worth visiting. This year me and my girlfriend got our flamenco dresses out and visited one of the nice tents with Spanish music, enjoyed some Spanish tapas while admiring the beautiful dresses on display. On previous years I have joined the parade on my horse Tango, equally fun 🙂