A journey that changed many lives
"Little Princes : One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal"
William Morrow, 2011
By ANNIE PHILBRICK
One person can make a difference. Conor Grennan is one of those people. Grennan left his comfortable, successful life at the age of 29 years to travel the world in hopes of finding a passion. Little did he know that when he signed up to volunteer at the Little Princes Children's Home in Godawari, outside of Katmandu, that he would both fall in love and find a passion in rescuing the lost children of Nepal. "Little Princes" is Grennan's story.
Humorous, inspiring and just an incredible story of a young man's quest, "Little Princes" is a very personal story of one person's ability to make a difference in our world.
Surrounded by Nepalese children who call him Brother Conor, he is overwhelmed at first, wondering how he got to Nepal and how long he really was going to stay. After his first stint helping at the orphanage, Grennan does leave to travel the world by bicycle only to return to Nepal after establishing a foundation to fund the rescue of the lost children who have been "stolen" from their families living high in the mountains of Humla by human traffickers.
With a promise from the trafficker that their child would have a better life safe from the Maoist rebels and the ongoing civil war in Nepal, hundreds of families sold their children for a huge sum to a better life. Unfortunately, the traffickers are corrupt and greedy and these children end up living in impoverished and dangerous conditions around Katmandu. While trying to find these children and reunite them with their families, Grennan places himself in danger with the traffickers who are unwilling to negotiate their release.
With support from a friend, Liz, (now his wife) Grennan takes off on a journey to find the families. Trekking through Maoist-controlled territory is dangerous, the path is treacherous. Injury, stomach sickness and cold reduces the trek to misery, and after one 22-hour hike, Grennan is not sure he is going to make it back alive. Yet, many families are reunited through letters and photographs. With love and compassion, and a lot of hard work, Grennan and his French colleague, Farid, make a huge difference in the lives of these children and their families.
Grennan's memoir certainly affected me and my outlook on the world.
A portion of the proceeds from the purchase of "Little Princes" will go to Next Generation Nepal, a foundation Grennan started to help reunite these lost children with their familes of Nepal.