One of the recipients of Padma Shri this year is Anuradha Koirala, an anti-trafficking crusader who hails from Nepal. She is among the several ‘unsung heroes’ who have been facilitated this year with Padma awards. Till date, she has rescued more than 12,000 girls from sex trafficking. She has also prevented more than 45,000 women and children from being trafficked across the India-Nepal border.
Koirala was born in 1949 and completed her schooling at Kalimpong in present day West Bengal. Due to her immense love for people, she was adorably called ‘Dijju’, which means ‘elder sister’ in Nepali language. She spent a significant part of her life as a teacher in Kathmandu. In 1993, she decided to set up a shelter for anyone who may need it and launched ‘Maiti House’ using her savings. The term ‘Maiti House’ translates into ‘Mother Nepal’ and it was a small house that provided shelter to rescued women and children.
The organization has grown manifold since then and now it has three prevention homes, eleven transit homes, two hospices and a formal school. All these facilities ensure that rescued women and children not only get shelter, but also find the means to improve their quality of life.
Apart from being conferred with Padma Shri, Anuradha Koirala has been honored with several International awards such as the German UNIFEM Prize 2007, Queen Sofia Silver Medal Award 2007, The Peace Abbey, and Courage of Conscience 2006.