Nepali Times Asian Paints
Life Times
Our ama, our hero, New!



DAN ARCHER
When Pushpa Basnet visited the women's prison in Sundhara seven years ago as part of a college social service trip, she had no idea that one afternoon would alter her life radically. Seeing the condition of the children trapped behind bars along with their incarcerated mothers moved her so much, she came home and told her parents that she wanted take care of the children and give them a better future.

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.

The stories of the children at ECDC are illustrated here through a series of comics by graphic journalist Dan Archer. "Comics are a powerful way of getting readers to experience testimonies from a first person perspective, I wanted to put the children's stories front and centre for the first time," says Dan. He is currently working on adapting testimonies of trafficking survivors into comics format and using the cartoons to engage with a younger, hard to reach audience, and teach them about the dangers of human trafficking.

www.ecdcnepal.org
www.archcomix.com
heroes.cnn.com

See also:
Growing up behind bars
Pushpa Basnet has devoted her life to helping children who are in prison for their parents' crime

Jailed kids get a release



1. Rabi Thapa
it might help to have the graphic bits 'zoomable' so readers can actually see what's going on?

LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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