I first met Pushpa Basnet – one of the prospective CNN Heroes 2012 – in 2011. We were both standing on the Bagmati Bridge that connects Kathmandu to Lalitpur. I was there as an observer and Pushpa had come to participate in a silent protest against Nepal’s political leaders who have failed to deliver the country’s constitution.
It was raining, and yet a group of people stood there, trying to get their message across.
“You have to meet her,” said Stuti, one of my friends as she introduced me to Pushpa and left us to talk. She was soaked in the rain.
“You need an umbrella?” I asked as I shared mine with her momentarily.
“So what do you do?,” I asked Pushpa.
“I work with children whose parents are in prison,” she said elaborating more on what she has been doing. We talked about her project, Early Childhood Development Center.
“Oh yes, I know you,” I carried on the conversation. “My friend interviewed you.”
One of my friends and former colleague had mentioned Pushpa’s efforts in her story about post-prison life for Nepalese women.
That day, on that bridge, I appreciated her work and dedication and wished Pushpa luck for her future projects.
And currently, as she appears on CNN’s website as one of the Top 10 nominees for CNN Heroes 2012, I can only appreciate her work more and show my support toward her relentless service for Nepal’s future generation.
In an interview with CNN, Pushpa said she was “shocked” to find out about her nomination.
She told CNN: “To be in the same platform as that of some of the world’s most compassionate and driven people is an incredible honor.”
In its fifth year now, CNN Heroes have showcased some of the world’s most outstanding people who have made a real difference in other people’s lives in their own ways. They have helped individuals, communities and their country. For many they are the social warriors and in some cases, even life saviors.
For instance, Anuradha Koirala, CNN Hero 2010. Soon after her nomination in the Top 10, I wrote a story about the woman who has rescued hundreds of Nepalese women from brothels in neighboring India.
Since Anuradha was traveling at that time, I couldn’t talk to her. But this gave me an opportunity to speak to many others whose lives she had transformed.
In our everyday lives, we come across people like Pushpa and Anuradha in our communities. Oftentimes we tend to overlook their efforts and actions until they’re splashed in media spotlight. But people like them are there around us, in our neighborhoods, among our friend circles and even amid our families.
Platforms like CNN Heroes gives these people an international recognition, underscores their endeavors. Most of us hastily start voting once they are nominated for awards as such and spread the word through social media. Of course, we want them to win and bring home the award and put a Nepalese name in the global spotlight.
However, at the same time, we tend not to acknowledge other heroes like them who are in close proximity .
At this moment, when we are taking time to vote for Pushpa and have another Nepalese CNN Hero, or vote for the other nine equally amazing heroes from around the world, let us also look around and find other heroes who have made and are making significant contributions to our societies. Let us acknowledge and appreciate their work, be inspired and even join them in their small and big efforts.
Who knows, that in this quest of voting and nominating a hero from our community, we might also stumble into a hidden hero within us?