Pushpa Basnet of Nepal has been named 2012 CNN Hero of the Year for her humanitarian services towards recovering and rehabilitating innocent children from behind the bars, who would have otherwise stayed with their imprisoned parents in the jails of Nepal. Pushpa Basnet took the initiative of starting a home in Kathmandu for these ill-fated children, where they could receive basic necessities like proper education, food and medical care and a chance to live a normal life. She also runs a daycare program for children, who are too young to be separated from their children.
As a part of the award, Basnet has been offered $250,000 to continue her noble job. In addition, she has also been granted $50,000 that each of the top 10 heroes has received. This is the second time that a Nepali woman has been bestowed with the highly esteemed international CNN Hero Award.
CNN has proclaimed the result from the Shrine Auditorium, organizing a gala event at Los Angeles, California. Pushpa Basnet after being named as the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year said that this is the victory of every Nepali. Basnet was only 28 year old, when she was nominated for providing shelter to the children, who were suffering with their parents inside the prisons of Nepal.
Pushpa Basnet has established the Butterfly Home, the Early Childhood Development Center - a day care programme for children below six and also a residential home, where mostly older children are provided education, food and medical care. According to Basnet, it is never a healthy way for children to live behind the bar, as they have committed no wrong. Her mission is to ensure that no child stays behind prison walls. Presently, over 40 such children are growing up in her shelter, where she offers them food, clothing, education, medicines and all other basic necessities. Basnet has offered shelter to children from prisons in Dhading, Pokhara, Jajarkot, Phidim, Birgunj and Nepalgunj.
Basnet started her career in social services at a young age of 21 only, when she was still an undergraduate in social work. As a part of college assignment, she was needed to visit the women prison in Kathmandu. Basnet was shocked to see the deplorable conditions of children living in the jail with their parents. Basnet collected 70,000 rupees from her intimate friends and sister and founded a non-profitable organization – The Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) to provide a day care program to the children in 2005.
In the year 2007, she founded a residential home for kids, where kids of prisoners can live year round and still visit their mothers on holidays. Till date, Basnet has assisted over 100 children of incarcerated parents.
Moreover, in 2009, Basnet has taken initiative in starting a program to train parents in making handicrafts inside the cell. Her main objective is to make the women prisoners and the former prisoner get involved in income generating activities, practicing which, they can earn their livelihood and contribute towards raising their children.
She teamed with her organization and the prison administrators rescue children from behind the bars throughout the rural and urban areas of Nepal. Acknowledging her effort, many local organizations have raised fund for Basnet. The Glasswaters Foundation, Shikshya Foundation Nepal and Sundar Sansar have contributed major donations for Basnet’s organization. Lately, a local organization has aided in raising 3.7 lakh rupees for Basnet’s organization through a range of national and international donation programs.
ELGA Foundation of South Korea has bestowed ELGA Youth Award to Basnet in September 1, 2012, at Soul's Chung Conference Hall for her immense contribution in human services. She is the sole foreigner to receive this award, which was established in 1989 in the memory of Social worker Kim Yongi.