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Waiting for Mamu: Woman rescues Nepalese children from prison

Locked up with no resources, Pushpa Basnet makes sure the kids have a loving home and an education.
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Chiara O. Scuri, January 22, 2014 5:54:57 AM

There’s much that can be rightfully criticized about the prison system here in Canada but here’s one thing we don’t do: We don’t imprison babies along with their mothers.

If this is an unfathomable idea, know that it happens in more places than you realize.

One of these places is Nepal, a country more often known by tourists for its breathtaking views. What tourists don’t always see is the troublingly low human development, which leads to situations like the one.

Children grow up in jails like prisoners alongside their parent, and when they get out, often as adults, they have no skills and are pushed even further to the margins of society.

Thankfully there are people like Pushpa Basnet. As Forbes reports, Pushpa is the subject of a new documentary, Waiting for Mamu, that explores how the young woman has been rescuing these children from their squalid conditions and raising them in an orphanage until their mothers are released.

Pushpa toured one of these Nepalese prisons during a university tour and was horrified by what she saw. Her heart was set once an eight-month-old baby pulled at her shawl and smiled at her, amid her miserable circumstances.

That sparked her to start The Butterfly Home, a non-profit that takes these children into her home to give them an education, food, and most important, love. Many return to the prison at night to be with their mothers, some stay.

In the interim, Pushpa has found high-profile support. She’s teamed up with a man named Thomas Morgan, who has similar goals in mind, and has garnered the attention of stars like Susan Sarandon and documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock.

Together, they’ve put together this short film to shed light on their work. If you want to see what real change makers look like, check out this video.


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Chiara O. Scuri

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