Imagine life without Reindeer

October 17 2015

As a little girl I said to my father that I wanted to help the starving children in Ethiopia in Africa
when I saw the devastation there on the TV.

Now as a 42 year old woman, my longing to help has made me turn my eyes to the children and adolescents of my own indigenous people. During my lifetime I have realized that those are the ones my heart yearns to help.

Have you ever heard about the Sami people? If not, maybe you have heard about the Laplanders? I am one of them. I am Sami.

I was brought up in a reindeer herding family in the very north of Sweden where the chances for a girl to work with reindeer herding was unheard of in the community. I never got the question if I wanted to. That work was meant for boys who were stronger, the older people said. The girls were encouraged to study. So I left my reindeer herding family and pursued a career as a journalist.

But all the time I have longed to come back and give back to my Sami community. You see, I never got the chance to choose.

Now I want to help girls (and boys) to choose, to challenge the rules and make it possible for them to live the life they want. I want them to see the possibilities they possess. There is barely anything which supports the indigenous Sami people in Sweden. The Swedish government has been severly criticized by the international community (UN/EU) for not treating the Sami people well.

So...I am crying while writing you this...

I am about to take the biggest risk I have ever taken in my entire life. All because of how much I wan to help and create change in my community, and to leave a legacy which can contribute to changing the rules, strengthening identities and empower girls and boys to follow their dreams.

I am starting an international foundation (registered in the USA) called Adopt a Reindeer and Save a Life. My vision is to help preserve the indigenous Sami culture by protecting native reindeer that are essential to the Sami way of life. The way it works is that people can adopt a reindeer or a herd and the donations will go back to supporting the indigenous Sami community with the focus on children and adolescents.

I am launching this foundation on November 1. I have invested a lot of time and money to figure it all out and as the time gets closer, my anxiety level climbs. Not many people around me here in Sweden know about this, since I am so scared to tell them. I don´t know how they will react. Remember, that I once was told that I was not good enough.

But I have decided to face the fear and do it anyway. So here it comes...

Would you like to help me?
Is there a willingness and an interest to help me spread this message of hope and possibility? To help me help these girls and boys? To help me contribute to something that can improve and empower a whole community, a culture and even a tribe of People.

It would mean the world to me. Contact me directly if you want to support us in any way or make a donation.

You’d know that you’re helping make someone’s dream come true and also helping to preserve an entire way of life – one that depends on the reindeer.

From a sister from another mother.

ViviAnn Labba Klemensson
[email protected]

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