Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Review: Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home The Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan

{{{sigh}}} sniff sniff... I will always remember this story! (blowing nose).
It's an amazing, compelling journey of a brave, determined young man, Conor Grennan, set out to do whatever he could to save the children of Nepal. 
I sigh because I am still reeling over it.  I would love to do what this man did. He had so much determination and will to walk, hike across the dangerous land to get to the homes of the saved children, to tell the parents their child are safe and alive. He doesn't stop there, he starts a non profit organization called Next Generation Nepal (click the link to take you to the website). From absolutely nothing, he had not a dime, he manages to raise enough money to start a home to save children. To save children from being sold and then left to be a slave or worse, to die of cold and starvation. 
An amazing, inspirational story that I highly recommend!

About the book:

About to turn thirty, Conor Grennan planned a year-long trip around the world. He started his trip with a three-month stint volunteering in the Little Princes Orphanage in war-torn Nepal. What was supposed to be just a three-month experience changed Conor’s life, and the lives of countless others.While playing on the roof of the orphanage, Conor was approached by a woman who would turn out to be the mother of two of the wards. Over hours of conversations with her, Conor learned the truth about the kids he’d come to love. Many of the little princes were not orphans but rather had been taken from their homes and families by child traffickers. In addition to losing two of her boys, this woman, while under the control of a human trafficker, was doing her best to keep seven other terrified kids alive in her mud hut. Conor’s life changed in those moments, as he decided to commit himself to these kids. After securing spots in an orphanage for all seven and arranging for an excellent local staff to run the Little Princes orphanage, Conor escaped Nepal, one day before revolution erupted in Kathmandu, with the King’s police shooting protestors in the streets.
After arriving home, Conor received a devastating email reporting that the seven kids had disappeared, snatched once again by the same trafficker. Soon he was back in Kathmandu, riding through the chaotic streets on the back of a local’s motorcycle, searching for his kids, seven needles in a corrupt haystack. And that is where Conor’s story begins.
Conor pledged to not only start a new orphanage for these seven but to start an entire new program dedicated to reuniting kids with their lost families in remote villages in the Nepalese hills, a four-day walk at best through war-torn precincts with no roads.
Conor’s organization, Next Generation Nepal, has reconnected almost 300 families with children they feared were lost to them forever. Website 

A passage from the book:

" I felt something else, too: respect. For the children. Because after all the rage and revolution that had clawed at Nepal for years, after being forcibly marched through mountains, after being taken from their parents and watching volunteers leave them just when their country was imploding, these kids were still laughing, still studying, and still showing off. They were survivors. That's how kids are in Nepal."


About Conor Grennan:

Conor Grennan, author of the memoir Little Princes, spent eight years at the EastWest Institute (EWI), both in Prague and the EU Office in Brussels, where he served as Deputy Director for the Security and Governance Program.

At the East/West Institute, Conor developed and managed a wide variety of projects focusing on issues such as peace and reconciliation in the Balkans, community development in Central Eastern Europe, and harmonizing anti-trafficking policy at the highest levels government in the European Union and the former Yugoslavia. 

Conor left EWI in 2004 to travel the world and volunteer in Nepal. He would eventually return to Nepal and found Next Generation Nepal, an organization dedicated to reconnecting trafficked children with their families and combating the root causes of child trafficking in rural villages in Nepal. He was based in the capital of Kathmandu until September 2007 where he was the Executive Director of Next Generation Nepal.

Conor now serves on the Board of Next Generation Nepal, together with his wife, Liz. He is a 2010 graduate of the NYU Stern School of Business, where he was the President of the Student Body. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and son, Finn, and a soon-to-be baby girl.

I wanted to add that a portion of the sales is donated to Next Generation Nepal and you
can always make a donation here


Suko said...

Natalie, this is an incredible story, very inspirational. Next Generation Nepal sounds like a wonderful organization. Thank you for presenting this, Natalie.

Anonymous said...

I am in such awe of people like this. The dedication and passion is inspiring.

Alice Teh said...

I love inspiring stories like this. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!