The recent controversy surrounding Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea does not diminish the humanitarian efforts and idealistic beliefs of others committed to helping children around the world. Conor Grennan’s book, Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal may be the perfect antidote for Mortenson’s disappointed readers and fans. His story is adventure filled, inspiring and will take you to far away places while pulling at your heartstrings.
Grennan quit his job to embark on a year long trip around the world. To seek validation for himself and enhance his reputation with family and friends, he chose to begin his travels by spending the first 3 months as a volunteer at the Little Princes Children’s Home, an orphanage in war torn Nepal. What he found there was a sense of purpose unlike anything he had experienced in his life.
From 1996 through 2006, Nepal was the stage of a violent civil war between the monarchy and the Maoist rebels. During this time, many children in remote poverty stricken areas were removed from their families. Child traffickers, pretending they intended to rescue the children, promised parents that they would keep them save from the rebels while also insuring they would receive a good education and a safe home. In reality, these defenseless children were placed as indentured servants or sold as slaves. Eventually many were abandoned while others were rescued and placed in orphanages around Nepal.
Grennan came upon some of these children in the Little Princes orphanage and learned that many came from those poor rural parts of Nepal. Upon his return to the U.S., he organized a nonprofit organization called Next Generation Nepal (NGN) http://www.nextgenerationnepal.com whose purpose is to reunite Nepalese children with their families. His charity continues to provide transitional housing for these children while assisting in reconnecting them with their loved ones.
Reading Little Princes is a win/win proposition. Some of the book’s proceeds are donated to NGN while his story provides a moving experience for the reader. Grennan introduces the resilient children through his artful prose and thoughtful and transcendent photos. The joy and grace the children exude and the love of life they display, in spite of all they have endured, is both mind boggling and humbling. It gives one pause to realize that many people in the world do not have the same advantages as those in the West. Grennan has done a great service by sharing his inspiring and often dangerous Nepalese adventures and helping to bring the problem of child trafficking to light by raising awareness to people around the world.
This wonderful story, both heartbreaking and heartwarming, is one to be shared with everyone you know.