Indian Embassy and B.P. Koirala India-Nepal Foundation organized 13th edition of Voices. In this edition of Voices, CNN Hero 2012 shared her journey from being an academically weak student to bagging the coveted CNN Hero 2012 and creating a “Butterfly Home” for children, who were earlier living behind the bars with their incarcerated parents.
“While pursuing my under-graduation in Social Work at St. Xavier’s College, I was like any other student of my age – least interested in academics, uncertain of the journeys ahead in life, full of desires, the dream to one day land in the US and live a luxurious life,” Pushpa began her story.
She elaborated, “Never had I thought then that one day I’d be recognized for my works. Nobody close to me had imagined this either. I had failed my SLC examination and my father was devastated. Even during my undergrads, I was poor in my studies and my teacher had suspended me. For every student studying in St. Xavier’s, being suspended from the college is worst than a nightmare, which came true to me. But thank god, I was suspended, I took it as a challenge to prove myself and my life took a positive turn, ever since then.”
Pushpa shared how she visited women prison, as a part of her college assignment during her suspension and saw fatal situations of children living behind the bars with their incarcerated parents.
She added, “I immediately decided that I will provide a shelter to these children because each of them deserved a better environment to grow that in jail.” Pushpa shared further how for a 21 year old, without any public recognition, it was more than a herculean task to shelter children, to establish a foundation, to feed and nurture them.
She revealed, “I sold most of my ornaments, without letting my parents know about it during the initial days of my initiative, to manage basic requirements for my children. I wanted my vision to materialize; I wanted every child to enjoy every shades of their childhood.”
One after the other, Pushpa started bringing home the children living behind the bars and in no time, the society started recognizing her foundation – Early Childhood Development Centre (ECDC).
Pushpa enunciated further, “I wouldn’t lie. Clinching CNN HERO 2012 was more than dream come true. It has facilitated me in many ways to expand my vision. I always wanted to accommodate maximum children, provide them good shelter, proper nutrition and nurture them in a proper manner. This probably wouldn’t have been possible if I had not won CNN HERO 2012. I have utilized the cash amount of the title on purchasing five ropanis of land and have already laid foundation for my Butterfly Home. My children are caterpillars today and I know soon, their “Mamu” (mother) will construct them their Butterfly Home.”
At the end of the program, Pushpa interacted with the audience and concluded, “Many people ask me when I will start a family of my own. My answer is I already have a family. I am today a mother of 44 children, they all call me Mamu. One of my daughters is appearing SLC examination soon. I don’t need to produce my own children to prove a point. One day, I will retire, I will hand this Foundation to one my children to continue the vision.”