Anuradha Koirala, known as Dijju (elder sister), is a Nepalese social activist who has helped rescue and rehabilitates more than 12,000 women and children who have been victims of sex trafficking between Nepal and India. Anuradha had been an educator for over 20 years in Kathmandu before she began her current work. In 1993 she established Maiti Nepal – a non-profit organization dedicated to providing refuge and health and social services to the victims of the region’s brothels and exploitive sex trade. Maiti Nepal (“maiti” means “mother’s home” in Nepali) has three prevention houses, eleven transit homes, two hospices and a formal academy. Upwards of 1000 children receive direct services from Koirala’s organization every single day. Maiti Nepal also works closely with Indian authorities to patrol and prevent trafficking along the border.
In appreciation of her services, the Government of Nepal now annually recognizes September 5th as an anti-trafficking day. Anduradha was also appointed as a former Assistant State Minister of Women Children and Social Welfare. Koirala’s amazing work has been recognized not only within Nepal and India but by various organizations around the world. Among her many accolades, Anduradha received the Courage of Conscience Award from The Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts in 2006 and in 2010 she won the CNN Hero of the Year award bringing great recognition to her cause. That same year the United States government provided a two-year grant of $500,000 to Maiti Nepal’s continued work. Anuradha, who cited Mother Teresa as her greatest inspiration, would go on to receive the Mother Teresa Awards in 2014. In 2017 Koirala was the recipient of the Padma Shri award, one of India’s highest civilian honors. Koirala joined Nepali Congress party in 2017 and has since been appointed as 1st Women Governor of Province No. 3 by the Nepalese government.
Illustration by Jordan Tran
This illustration for Anuradha Koirala was inspired by the mandalas created in Nepal. Mandalas are used as a healing art, helping individuals reflect on experiences and find peace within oneself. It is also a term for any geometric symbol that represents the cosmic energy in a symbolic matter.
147,181 km2 (93rd)
Federal parliamentary republic