Meeting My Heroes

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

I got to meet two of my inspirations this week, 2010 CNN Hero Anuradha Koirala and 2012 CNN Hero Pushpa Basnet. These two Nepali legends are brave, courageous, caring, amazingly strong women who have done so much to help the women and children of Nepal. Feels surreal to even be mentioned in the same breath with them, let alone to be up for the same award.

Anuradha Koirala, Maiti Nepal

Maggie & Anuradha

Photo credit: Monique Kovacs Nathan

The extraordinary Anuradha Koirala of Maiti Nepal is Nepal's Mother Theresa. She had so much sage advice, and she was so humble about the thousands of women and girls she's saved from human trafficking. "These awards, they don't change the fact that there's work to do. They mean nothing. People still need our help." Still in awe of this amazing woman.

Anuradha's sign.

Photo credit: Monique Kovacs Nathan

I was gushing for hours after our meeting. I can't believe I actually got to spend time with her, I can't believe she gave me a personal tour of her project. She's such a huge role model for me. She spoke so passionately about how Nepal's fuel shortage is a humanitarian crisis. She kicked her sandal off and felt the dew on the grass with her foot, telling us that was a sign of cold nights to come. She told us how worried she was about all the people living under nothing but tarps after the earthquake, how they need sweaters but she can't get anything across the border from India. Then she took us into a room full of infants, the newest members of her family, and I watched as their little faces lit up at the sight of her. I hope to be half the woman she is one day.

Pushpa Basnet, Early Childhood Development Center

Puspha Basnet & Maggie

Photo credit: Monique Kovacs Nathan

Pushpa Basnet is the warm, amazing, joyful director of the Early Childhood Development Center in Kathmandu, a home for children with incarcerated parents. What an amazingly huge heart she has. So honored to be invited into her home, and to find out she has a picture of me, of all people, hanging on her office wall! Surreal. 

Pushpa's adorable kids!

Photo credit: Monique Kovacs Nathan

There are so many similarities between our projects. She has just as much of an emphasis on sustainability as we do, with a solar cooker on her roof, the same technology we're looking into for our new campus. She's building a new campus of her own, and took us up to the roof to show us the construction site in the distance. She was full of so many words of advice, and feels like a true sister. 

Looking at Pushpa's new school.

Photo credit: Monique Kovacs Nathan

This has been a beautiful journey, I feel incredibly honored and humbled. Thanks for being a part of it with me. No matter what happens with the results of the 2015 CNN Heroes vote, I feel like a winner already.


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