Nepali social worker Pushpa Basnet, who has been working to promote the rights of children living behind bars with their incarcerated parents, has been declared the 2012 CNN ‘Hero of the Year’ amid a programme in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Basnet was chosen through a public online voting that ran on CNN’s Anderson Cooper announced the results while Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon presented Basnet with an award as one of the Top 10 CNN Hero es of 2012. Each of the Top 10 CNN Hero es received $50,000 in recognition of their work, and Basnet’s nonprofit, the Early Childhood Development Center, will receive an additional $250,000 grant.

Basnet was selected from over 10,000 social workers participating in the competition from around the globe.

Basnet has been running non-profit organisations Early Childhood Development Centre and Butterfly Home. Established in 2005, her organisations aim at providing education and prospects to better lives to the children living behind bars.

The annual award, instituted in 2007 with a purse of US$250,000, is a multi-platform campaign that shines a spotlight on individuals who go to extraordinary lengths to serve others.

Another Nepali social worker Anuradha Koirala , founder and director of Maiti Nepal, had bagged the award in 2010, for her contribution to the fight against human trafficking in Nepal since 1993.

Celebrities from film, television, music and sports took an active part in the prestigious event by presenting the awards and telling the individual heroes’ stories. – Ekantipur
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