Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Claudia Vilanek (Austria)

Claudia Vilanek was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize at the age of 24. She was raised in Innsbruck, and attended high school there as well. She began working with the disabled at a school for children in England when she was eighteen. At nineteen she travelled to India and lived there for half a year at an Indian center for lepers. After her the center was taken over by a nunnery, she moved to Sunderpore closer to the Nepal border and began her work anew. This time she was in the newly founded leper village called “Little Flower.” As well as helping the lepers medically, she also worked as a teacher of English and singing at the village school. It was at this village that she met Brother Christdas, their priest.

When Vilanek returned to Austria she founded the “Association for the Support of the Leper Village of Brother Christdas.” She began working to collect donations, which she sent directly to the village. Twenty-five years later Vilanek is still working for her organization, to support the village of Little Flower. In December of 2010 she visited the village again. In the last two decades she has raised approximately 680,000 euros for the village. Vilanek has also inspired new associations to help the village, including a program in which college students raise money to buy cows for the villagers. In February of 2011 the organization began selling silk scarves, the proceeds of which go directly to the village.