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About us

Viva Denmark is an international faith-based children’s rights organisation that supports and coordinates efforts for vulnerable children and youth in some of the world’s poorest regions. Viva was founded to improve conditions for children and youth so that they can enjoy a safe and healthy upbringing with the opportunity to create their own future. Viva works with local networks of churches, faith organisations and civil society organisations in 27 countries.

Viva creates child-friendly communities. We prevent and combat violence, abuse and exploitation of children. The family is the starting point for a safe upbringing, and Viva therefore works closely with children’s homes to return children to their families or place them with a foster family so they can grow up in close relationships with adults. We work to make unstable families more resilient and able to cope with challenges despite poverty.

Viva trains young active citizens. Through youth programmes, we promote opportunities for children and young people to contribute to active democracy and the development of a healthy community. We fight for the rights of children and young people and collaborate with authorities to ensure a safe upbringing for children.

Viva sends young Danes to our partner countries through the training and volunteer programme Impact. They become part of Viva’s initiative for children and young people and are closely involved with development work. By combining learning and travel experiences, we help mould young people to become global citizens and take active responsibility for their neighbours.

This voluntary engagement is the foundation of Viva’s ethos. Viva aims to create a movement of committed individuals who apply their abilities and resources to make a difference for vulnerable children and young people. Viva believes that all people are valuable, created for community and have a responsibility to help vulnerable children and young people.


Viva's position

Core values

Viva is founded on the Christian view of life and humanity. For us, this means that all people are valuable, created for community and have a responsibility to use our resources to help vulnerable children and young people.

Personal commitment

We bring personal commitment to the organisation and the projects we are involved in.

A community with room for everyone

We aim to be an open and diverse community, where there is room for everyone to participate and contribute.

Dynamic partnerships

We actively work to create dynamic partnerships both at home and abroad, characterised by reciprocity and long-term results that are tangible from the child’s perspective.

Trustworthy administration

We seek to uphold accountable administration with respect for partners, staff, volunteers and entrusted funds.

Board members

Torben Stigaard (Chairman)
Torben is a Marketer and co-founder of Plandisc and has extensive experience with e.g. CSR strategies in companies. Torben has a big heart for working with vulnerable children and contributes with great insight and education. Torben joined the board in 2020.

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Daniel Toft Jakobsen
Daniel is a former member of the Danish Parliament for the Social Democrats and former political spokesman of development aid. He has a strong profile in relation to matters of faith and religious freedom, and is, by virtue of his membership of Viva’s board, chairman of CKU (Centre for Church-based Development). Daniel contributes with extensive experience from organizational work and has been a member of the board since 2016.


Kristina Østergaard Kristensen (on leave)

Kristina has been a volunteer in Honduras and subsequently volunteered in Denmark, both in the office with operational tasks, as well as leading various voluntary projects. Kristina is a student and represents the younger part of Viva’s members on the board.

Thomas Hjort (Deputiy Chairman)
Thomas is a leading physiotherapist at EliteSilkeborg. He has been a volunteer on summer teams in Honduras in the period 2007-2010 and has since then volunteered in e.g. the Goals For THE Life project. Thomas has been on the board since 2013.

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Michael Thorlund (on leave)
Michael has a long history with Viva both as a volunteer in Honduras, volunteer in Denmark, student assistant and program officer. Michael is, despite living in San Diego, an active member of the board. In recent years, Michael has worked with strategy and management, with which he contributes to Viva’s board.

Mikkel Cantzler Christensen
Mikkel is a communications employee at Aarhus Theater and a freelancer. Mikkel has, among other things, produced the interactive documentary project “The Slum Challenge”, where you experience life in the slums of Manila. Mikkel was on a team trip to Honduras in 2008 and has been on the board since 2018. 


Maria Nitzsch Hastrup

Maria is a program coordinator at The Danish Red Cross Youth and a member of Viva’s board since 2022. Maria has extensive experience with youth involvement, partnerships and development work through her work in the scouting movement and work experience in CKU, DanChurchAid and Dignity.

Hanna Meilandt
Hanna is a partner coordinator at Mission Afrika. She traveled to Honduras as a volunteer in 2006 and has been active in volunteer work ever since. Hanna has lived in London and is the link between Viva Oxford’s and Viva Danmark’s boards. Hanna has been a member of the board since 2014.


Jesper Thorlund (Substitute Member)
Jesper is Sr. Director, Executive Rewards at LEGO Group, and has extensive experience witch motivation and management. For many years, Jesper has watched Viva from the sideline, and in 2023 he was elected to the board and is now actively contributing to the work for vulnerable children.

Employees