He family thought she was crazy because Pushpa neither had the experience or the money to start such an ambitious project. Today the 28-year-old is the president of the Early Childhood Development Centre (ECDC) in Budhanilkantha and her selfless work and dedication has made her one of ten finalists for CNN's Hero of the Year award. (heroes.cnn.com to vote for Pushpa, voting closes on Wednesday 11:59pm Pacific Time (Thursday 1:45pm, Nepal Time).
Started in 2005, ECDC currently houses 40 children of incarcerated parents. Pushpa and her team send the children to school, nurse them back to health, provide psycho-social counseling and help them rebuild their lives. In the last seven years, ECDC has freed more 100 children from jail. Pushpa travels regularly to jails all across the country, making agreements with jailer, parent and ECDC and bringing children to Kathmandu. They lovingly call her ama at the home. Pushpa ama also runs a day care centre near Sundhara prison for children under six whose mothers are serving time and has been training the mothers to make handicrafts for the last couple of years.
Growing up behind bars
Pushpa Basnet has devoted her life to helping children who are in prison for their parents' crime