Why You Should Vote For CNN Hero 2012 Nominee Pushpa Basnet

Rajina, one of Women LEAD’s former interns in Nepal and a 2010 participant, learned about Pushpa Basnet and her butterfly house in a 4 day monsoon camp in June with ECDC and Women LEAD.

The CNN Heroes season is back again! After the huge win from Anuradha Koirala, and may I add, a well-deserved win; Pushpa Basnet, is the one expecting the title for this year. Now, if this was someone else, acting patriotic, maybe I would just share it on Facebook, vote and declare my duty done. With her, I couldn’t help but tell people why this means so much.

No, I do not know Ms. Basnet personally. In fact, I have met her only for 30 brief minutes, adding up few minutes from here and there over a few days. What I really campaign for, is ECDC, her project and all the wonderful kids there.

“I will serve as an army someday”, says Heena Khan, a girl in her early teens from ECDC. She is shy, speaks less, but I wouldn’t doubt a bit on her determination. Sharmila, the little 8 year old lady wants to become an air hostess. Her smile might as well make her one. Then among so many other prospective army personnel, is Laxmi. She wants to become a lawyer. I will make sure law and order stays in my country, she says. Her dream makes me smile the most.

These are not children from ordinary children’s home. Their parents are still alive, but imprisoned. Pushpa Basnet, takes these children with parents behind bars and gives them all a child deserves. Good food, shelter, education, and love. All the kids call her “mamu“, a way of saying mother in Nepali. You have to grow up to be independent, she tells them and the children nod. I can see a hint of inspiration and the desire to not let their mamu down in their eyes.

The kids don’t open up easily; they have so much in their mind already, for obvious reasons. I look at them smiling and think, they have been used to this; new strangers come in, donate something or love and teach them for days, weeks, or if longer, months and then go to living their own lives. They can’t really get attached to someone, they know it’s not forever. One way of not being staying sad is not getting too attached to something, little Sharmila taught me this. But still, they do. After a while, they make you feel like you’ve known them forever. Their plans in life and concerns would make you realize how naive and privileged normal school going children are.


I am not trying to present a charity case here. Except for having met the children for four days, I am not connected to ECDC in anyway. But Pushpa Basnet really deserves this. Apart from the award being a nation’s pride, it has so many additional uses. It creates inspiration. (and can I just say how much it inspires me seeing two women from Nepal being so iconic internationally?) The award could be so much helpful in making one of the future armies, air hostess and lawyers’ dream come true!

Learn more about Pushpa, and vote for her here:


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