#FUEL Loves – Anuradha Koirala
Every time I think that one person alone is not enough to envision and execute the transformation of this world, her face flashes in my mind to prove me wrong. She defines what a single person’s love, compassion, and hard work can do, in a world waiting for someone else to make the change first.
My first meeting with Anuradha Koirala, the Founder of Maiti Nepal, was at the TEDxGateway rehearsal last year. She was wearing a plain brown cardigan over a neatly pleated, off-white cotton sari. I remember her being polite, humble, and energetic. Our conversation that day was brief. But the next day, when we met for the official TEDxGateway lunch, we chatted for long and I had a wonderful time speaking with her. She was humorous, insightful and perceptive. I knew then, that she would be one of my most favourite people in this lifetime.
Maiti Nepal was born out of a crusade to protect Nepali girls and women from crimes like domestic violence, human trafficking, child prostitution, child labour, and various other forms of exploitation and torture. Through her organization Anuradha ma’am has helped rescue and rehabilitate more that 12,000 Nepali girls, and has saved 45,000 women and children from human trafficking at the India-Nepal border, since 1993.
When I met her in Kathmandu almost nine months after our first meeting, and asked her how accomplished she feels having helped so many people, she said to me, “I will be successful the day Maiti Nepal shuts down. Because that will indicate, in true sense, that human trafficking has ceased to exist and so, there is no need of such an organization. I’m awaiting that day. And I shall fight to see it, with every beat of my heart.”
Anuradha ma’am’s life lesson is simple and resolute, just like her: “risk everything for something you believe in.” It resonates deep. And I’ve never needed to ask what taught her the lesson; her entire life, spent in saving those women, has lead to it.