Nepalese Advocate Pushpa Basnet is 2012 CNN Hero
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 3, 2012
(CNN) — Pushpa Basnet, a Nepalese woman who supports children so they don’t have to live behind bars with their incarcerated parents, was named the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year on Sunday night.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries, and space is very limited in the few group homes affiliated with the government. So when a parent is incarcerated and no other guardian can be found, children have little choice but to live in prison as well.
Basnet, 29, is determined to give these children another option.
She started a home in Kathmandu where children can receive education, food, medical care and a chance to live a more normal life. She also runs a day care program for children who are too young to be separated from their parent.
“These children have done nothing wrong. They are simply caught in something they do not understand,” Basnet said during “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and honored her and the other top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012. “We want to work with the government to bring them all out from of prison. And they deserve a better future.”
Since 2005, Basnet has helped more than 140 children through her nonprofit, the Early Childhood Development Center.
Basnet was chosen as Hero of the Year through a nine-week public vote held on CNN.com. For being named CNN Hero of the Year, she receives $250,000 to continue her work. That is in addition to the $50,000 that each of the top 10 Heroes are receiving.
This is the sixth year of the CNN Heroes campaign. In that time, more than 180 CNN Heroes have been profiled on CNN, chosen from more than 45,000 nominations submitted through the CNN Heroes website.
Each year, the campaign culminates with a live tribute show that brings together some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.
The celebrities who took part in this year’s show included movie stars Susan Sarandon, Adrien Brody, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Harvey Keitel and Josh Duhamel; athletes Jeff Gordon and Cullen Jones; and hip-hop artist 50 Cent. Television stars Rainn Wilson (“The Office”), Rico Rodriguez (“Modern Family”), Jane Lynch (“Glee”), Miranda Cosgrove (“iCarly”) and David Spade (“Rules of Engagement”) also participated.
There were two musical performances during the show. “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips performed “Home,” and three-time Grammy Award winner Ne-Yo sang “Heroes.”
In addition to receiving $50,000, this year’s top 10 Heroes will also receive free training from the Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide. Each Hero will receive a customized version of the Annenberg Alchemy program, which provides practical guidance on fundraising, communications, management and much more.
“We have found that the most effective nonprofits are like the CNN Heroes — organizations with strong and visionary leaders and a bold, new approach to getting the job done,” said Wallis Annenberg, the foundation’s president, CEO and chairman of the board. “Our hope is that in supporting them — especially smaller nonprofits, still struggling to survive and to thrive — we will help them get wider attention and become models across the world.”