Ana Nacvalovaite - a Journey from New York’s Ballrooms to Eastern European Orphanages
Ana Nacvalovaite - Founder, President and Chair Of Lotus of Hope -Specializing In Providing Access To Education For Children In Developing Countries
Ana Nacvalovaite - photograph by Meagan Cignoli
Ana Nacvalovaite sits in the lobby of Le Meurice Hotel ideally located opposite the Tuileries Garden at the heart of Paris. Her soft-spoken manner and simple elegance makes one feel instantly at ease. This Lithuanian expatriate resides between London and NYC, speaks seven languages, holds two bachelors and two masters’ degrees, and is presently working on her doctorate at Oxford. Ana is an international human rights attorney who has lived a life and a half and makes no secret of her academic, philanthropic and business ambitions.
When former Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik stated: "It's not just China and India -- it's women who are the emerging power of the 21st century!" it was a strong, educated, young, talented women like Ana Nacvalovaite that she had in mind.
Don’t be fooled by her young age, calm and collected, Ana is insistent and persuasive. She is a smiling, tough negotiator who knows when to push and press on and when to cut loose. And it's clear she usually gets what she wants. She says she inherited this trait from her mother, auntie and grandmothers. They are all very strong women “modern feminine feminists and with a very progressive outlook on life”.
“Setting up Lotus of Hope specializing in providing access to education for children in developing countries almost 4 years ago was a big step in to the unknown world of children’s rights. Taking my theoretical knowledge and putting it in to practice in developing countries was truly challenging! There is so much poverty, need and neglect. I wanted to help everyone. Then I had to let go of emotions, understand that a very structured almost pragmatic approach is needed towards every project.”
Ana will ask as many questions as she answers. Her inquisitive nature allowed her to be where she is today. “I learn every day, it is impossible to know everything, one thing I learned is to never be shy and always ask questions. Most people are keen to share their knowledge with you and give their viewpoint and advise.”
Ana’s trip to Paris is anything but social. Her research at Oxford on Social Corporate Responsibility takes her to many countries for meetings with influential figures in the world of politics and business, as she is working on creating a more concise and practical set of regulations for trans-global corporations employing children.
Is she just one amongst many who are trying to eradicate child labor?
“Ultimately, it would be wonderful if every child could enjoy a happy, safe and loving childhood. When it comes to children and children’s rights worldwide, child’s best interests should the of primary importance, everything else is secondary.”
Do you think it’s a realistic aspiration?
“When I was growing up it was never about wondering if something's really possible or doable, it was about getting your act together and getting on with what needs to be done and reaching the goal. I believe that there is enough interest, pressure and action on the part of the citizens of every country to protect our children and provide them with the best opportunity there is" answered Ana.
It was a brief interview, but her passion and energy was contagious, she left to go back to her afternoon meetings, leaving behind a burning desire to see how I could contribute to her quest on securing our children a happy childhood.
About Lotus Of Hope:
"Lotus of Hope was founded by a group of young professional women from around the globe, joined by a common desire to use their diverse experiences and accomplishments to eradicate poverty by exposing and ending the egregious educational inequalities that exist internationally.
Drawing on experience in human rights law, education, health, and finance, we have sought out local organizations that are already working hard to lift their communities out of poverty by improving the lives of mothers and children. However, the demands on these organizations is immense. It is our goal to extend their reach by providing them with essential capital, intellectual, and legal resources."
For more about Ana Nacvalovaite and Lotus Of Hope please visit the site: http://www.lotusofhope.com