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.
Connor is a “volunteering evangelist.” He says:
I am desperate for readers, especially younger readers, to see what getting involved can do. How it can change your life so completely, and in ways you could never imagine. How volunteering, whether it is in an impoverished third world nation or in your hometown, requires only that you show up. Don’t worry how little of your time or resources you may have to offer—just offer it, and see what happens.
The fact is, volunteering is no longer a fringe activity—the world gets smaller every day and we have a responsibility to understand what it looks like. It’s not how the other half lives, it’s how the other 90% live. And I believe that each of us has a responsibility to know what those lives look like, even if we only give one single day of our life to discovering it. Because it could have been us.