US national campaigning for end to child abuse in India

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JAMMU: She hails from far-off America but is campaigning in India for an end to child abuse and trafficking in this country.

Allie Sibner, a 23-year-old woman from Ashland, is participating in the ‘Bharat Yatra’ which was started by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on September 11 and is scheduled to end in Delhi on October 16.

“I am very happy and excited to have joined Kailash Ji’s yatra,” she told about the nationwide campaign as part of which she was here.

Sibner said she was in high school when she learnt about human trafficking and became very passionate about the issue and started working as a volunteer to eradicate the menace.

She said the 11,000-km yatra inspired her and so “I quickly picked up the plane ticket and came over to India on October 5 to join the programme.”

Satyarthi is on a ‘Bharat Yatra’ to spread awareness about crimes against children. He began his yatra from Kanyakumari.

“I was busy in office over the past week organising many things and getting ready for the yatra and now I finally joined the yatra and feeling very happy and excited,” Sibner said.

She said she was in India through an international organisation called Peacejam that brings youth activists together with noble peace prize laureates across the globe.

“We work with Kailash Ji and are partners with him. I am with ‘Peacejam’ since I was 14 and when we heard about his yatra, we were just very inspired and wanted to do whatever possible we can to help him,” said the American national.

In a Facebook post after being cleared for a visit to India by her NGO to be part of Bharat yatra , Sibner had termed the gesture as a “miracle” and said, “I am going to India to walk alongside one of my heroes, Kailash Satyarthi.”

She had further written, “I am so grateful to be able to devote myself to this cause…I will use every blessing and opportunity I am graced with to the highest, for the betterment of the world and in service to all.”

She ended her message with “Jai Bhagwan, om gan ganapatei namaha.. Jai Jai Jai.”

A day after her arrival in Delhi, she posted another message on Facebook: “Please send prayers and support to those already marching and working to end child trafficking and abuse in India!

On October 9, Satyarthi visited Srinagar where he addressed students drawn from various schools and urged them to stay away from violence.

“Together, we will win this battle,” he told the school children of the militancy-hit valley.

The yatra reached Jammu on October 10 and Sibner joined as a volunteer. Though Satyarthi himself did not attend the function in Jammu, his foundation screened his video message at the jam-packed auditorium to seek support for the nationwide campaign against child abuse and trafficking.

Nearly nine lakh people have taken the pledge to fight child abuse.

“Our target was 10 lakh but we are going to cross 12 lakh. One crore people have taken the pledge online,” Satyarthi had said in Srinagar.

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