Hannah Means-Shannon: Our young girl, Vijaya, has been through some terrible experiences and yet she remains open and hopeful about her future. Is this simply because she’s a resilient young child, or do you think she has qualities that make her unique among human beings?
Vignolli: What makes Vijaya resilient is the fact that she experienced a lot of love from her parents and Prasad. The certainty of being loved helped her to overcome traumatic experiences.
Roger Ash: How did you come up with the story of A Girl in the Himalayas?
Vignolli: A few years ago I finally got the chance to visit the Himalayas. One day me and my wife wanted to visit a temple half a day climb from the place where we were staying. We started our journey a bit late and the climb took us longer than expected. While we were climbing what was at times dangerously steep terrain, I realized how insignificant one human life is in the face of those majestic mountains. Nature is a tough and merciless teacher, she teaches us how to be alert and focused for example. A moment of distraction and we could fall off the cliff. But at the same time she is caring and comforting.
I imagined how a small girl who got lost in the mountains would feel and what kind of adventures she could have. A Girl in the Himalayas for me is a story of empowerment about a girl who wants to find her place in a world full of challenges and danger.