Freedom got a new dimension for me since I was taken hostage for 607 days in Dagestan, Russia.
For 20 months masked men locked me up in a 3 square meter cabin under the ground, high up in the Caucasian Mountains. Every day could be my last. It was an ordeal I never expected to live through, but once I was in the middle of it I had to learn how to cope with the new circumstances.
During my kidnapping I put all my effort to gain back my inner and outer freedom. This meant to fight against fear, to increase my courage, to bond with my principles, to increase my flexibility and to strenghten my believes, my values, dreams and desires.
I also had to bond with my kidnappers. To win their empathy so they would start to improve my conditions.
After my release I felt like I got a second chance. I was a survivor not a victim. I managed to keep my inner freedom during my kidnapping, so why not while I live in Freedom.
I managed. Where I would have limited myself before my kidnapping I learnt to act and think more free. Work related this resulted in a life with more challenges, more possibilities, more creativity and more flexibility.
It became my mission to assist people in their quest for freedom.
Freedom to live in world without fear and surrounded by protection, but also freedom to choose your own path.
Freedom is about taking responsibility and ownership about life, but also about giving other people space to live their life in such a way that they can fully flourish and develop their talents and reach their goals.
One way of doing this is through the work of the foundation Free a Girl that I co-founded. Free a Girl is dedicated freeing young girls from forced prostitution. Since 2008 we freed more than 4000 girls and gave them a second chance.
By means of lectures, workshops and coaching I assist people in regaining or strengthening their freedom. Supporting them to deal with change, to create a surrounding to flourish and how to get rid of obstructing convictions.