Imagine, at five years old, you are sentenced to prison for 13 years. You have no access to your family or friends, to an education, to the outside world or to society. In some places, if a parent is sentenced to prison and they lack a guardian for their child, the child is imprisoned with the parent. Many of these children go to prison at a young age and are released to the world at age 18, with no life skills or support system, knowing nothing of the world but what they experienced in a jail cell.
During a prison tour as part of her university studies, Pushpa Basnet encountered a young girl who tugged at her shawl and looked up at her and smiled. Pushpa promised the young girl’s mother she would be back to get her. Seven years later, Pushpa, known as “Mamu “ by the children, runs an organization that gives kids the chance to be kids during the day and have an education. Some return to the prison to be with their mothers at night, while some stay in her orphanage. will share the story of what it means for a child to grow up in prison and yet find hope in unlikely places. What is life like for child hoping to be free from prison, even if just for the day, to find a childhood, and to find Mamu? Thomas Morgan’s documentary short film, “Waiting for Mamu”http://www.waitingformamu.com/trailer.html addresses these questions and this issue. Pushpa Basnet and Thomas Morgan will be keynote speakers at Southern Utah University's Women's Conference, "Leadership and Empowerment Across Generations," which is April 10 and 11 at SUU in Cedar City.http://leadershipengageme.wix.com/generations The conference is presented by the SUU Women and Gender Studies Program.
Pushpa Basnet was named 2012 CNN Hero of the Year. She is a social worker and the Founder/President of Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) andButterfly Home, non-profit organizations, in Kathmandu, Nepal. She and her organization work to strengthen the rights of children living behind bars with their incarcerated parents.
Thomas Morgan is an award winning filmmaker based in Charlotte, NC. His style of letting the stories tell themselves on important social and human rights issues have garnered attention as his film These Storied Streets, a film about homelessness in the United States, earned him an invitation to speak to Congress on the issue as well as the Democratic National Convention, a TED Talk as well as several others. Morgan is currently in development on two documentaries addressing human rights issues in India and Libya.