Anuradha Koirala has won the Padma Shri award for rescuing over 12,000 girls from trafficking.She has also prevented over 45,000 women from being trafficked across the India-Nepal border.
Koirala was born in West Bengal, but spent most of her life in Nepal. She worked as a teacher in Kathmandu.
In 1993, she set up Maiti Nepal, a shelter for women who had been trafficked to receive material help as well as psychological counselling. Her organisation runs three prevention homes, 11 transit homes, two hospices and a school.
The organisation runs awareness and counselling programs as well as rehabilitation programs. It runs a school, gives people Anti-Retro Viral treatment for HIV and provides training courses in hotel management, tailoring and computers, among others.
Koirala was declared a CNN Hero in 2010 and was given a Mother Teresa Award in 2014.
Koirala got married against her family’s wishes to someone outside her caste. She was 19 at the time and her marriage failed a few years later. She describes this as the turning point in her life.
According to the Maiti Nepal website, 12,000 Nepali girls are trafficked to India every year. In 2016, Maiti Nepal intercepted 5,726 girls at the Indo-Nepal border.
“No matter if I am alive or not, the problem will continue and Maiti Nepal must go on even after me. Maiti Nepal is NOT Anuradha Koirala, Maiti Nepal is an idea, and ideas must never die,” she said in a Facebook Post.