Nepali Woman Inspired By Mother Teresa Has Saved More Than 18,000 Girls From Sex Trafficking

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Inspired by Mother Teresa, Anuradha Koirala had always known she was destined to serve people.

Nepali Woman Inspired By Mother Teresa Has Saved More Than 18,000 Girls From Sex Trafficking

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Inspired by Mother Teresa, Anuradha Koirala had always known she was destined to serve people. She therefore became a teacher, educating young children in Kathmandu, Nepal. However, after two decades, she decided to pursue an even greater calling: protecting women and girls from abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.


On her morning walks past the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu in the early ’90s, Koirala would regularly encounter women begging on the street. She was drawn to them and started to engage the women in conversation — everyone told her that they had been victims of some gender-based violence, she recalled in her 2015 TEDx Talk.


Koirala was far familiar with their pain, having suffered extreme physical abuse herself at the hands of her ex-husband.


This traumatic personal experience triggered her decision to change careers.


Koirala started educating the women about gender-based violence and women's empowerment. She offered to help them support themselves if they stopped begging on the streets.


At first, only eight women took her up on her offer, and she gave them 1,000 rupees each from her meager earnings to start small street shops. Through a portion of their profit — the two rupees Koirala would collect from each of them every day — she managed to provide security and economic opportunity to women in need.


Soon after, she took her mission a step further, founding the nonprofit Maiti Nepal back in 1993, through which she has served exploited women and kids for the last 26 years. Throughout her career as an activist and humanitarian, she has particularly focused on tackling sex trafficking, a rampant industry which forces young girls from underprivileged communities all over the India-Nepal border to be sold into sex slavery.


Maiti Nepal that now caters to over 1,000 kids has grown to include three prevention homes through which girls at-risk are identified and educated on the dangers of trafficking. The organization also runs eleven transit homes that operate as immediate shelters for rescued girls, two hospices that treat women and kids infected with HIV/AIDS, and a formal school.


Nepali Woman Inspired By Mother Teresa Has Saved More Than 18,000 Girls From Sex Trafficking

NurPhoto


Nepali Woman Inspired By Mother Teresa Has Saved More Than 18,000 Girls From Sex Trafficking

WireImage | John Shearer


Koirala is 70 years old today and, touted as Nepal’s own “Mother Teresa,” continues to fight against sex trafficking through her organization, that hosts a series of initiatives, such as female empowerment programs, awareness campaigns, and skills training sessions for women and children.


Maiti Nepal, in collaboration with local law enforcement, frequently conducts rescue operations and patrols 26 points on the India-Nepal border to stop trafficking. The organization has saved more than18,000 girls since the founding of Maiti Nepal, as Koirala said at the Global Peace Leadership Conference back in 2012.


Furthermore, Maiti Nepal assists in the apprehension of trafficking criminals and has aided in the prosecution of over 700 traffickers.


While some survivors of sex trafficking can recover from their trauma and go on to live full lives, Koirala recognizes that not everyone is so lucky. Several survivors contract HIV and require antiretroviral therapy to control the virus. The treatment can slow its progression and lower the chances of transmission, so the organization offers access to the treatment to affected women and kids as well. Its two hospice centers provide those who have AIDS a safe place and comfortable place to live.


According to Global Citizen, Koirala has been widely recognized for her work and has been awarded many local and international awards, including the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award in India. Also, she was named the CNN Hero of the Year in 2010, for which she won $125,000 to further her work.

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Thinking Humanity: Nepali Woman Inspired By Mother Teresa Has Saved More Than 18,000 Girls From Sex Trafficking
Nepali Woman Inspired By Mother Teresa Has Saved More Than 18,000 Girls From Sex Trafficking
Inspired by Mother Teresa, Anuradha Koirala had always known she was destined to serve people.
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