University News

Leadership Conference Reaches Across Generations

Published: April 14, 2014 | Category: Special Events

Imagine, at five years old your parent is sentenced to 13 years of prison. But instead of you enjoying your childhood, you’re also given jail time. You now have no access to family, friends, an education or even the outside world.

This is a harsh reality for many children in countries where if one of parent is sentenced to prison and they lack a guardian for their child, the child is then imprisoned along with the parents. But now for 44 children in Nepal, they now have a childhood and a future because of Pushpa Basnet, founder of the Butterfly Home and 2012 CNN Hero.

Traveling from Nepal, Basnet was the visiting speaker for Southern Utah University’s Leadership and Empowerment Across Generations conference April 10 through April 11, 2014. Basnet came along with Thomas Morgan, film director of “Waiting on Mamu”—a documentary featuring Basnet and the Butterfly Home.

“Waiting on Mamu” was screened at the Historic Cedar Theatre with all proceeds given to the Butterfly Home.

Sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ women and gender studies program and University College’s Leadership Engagement Center, the conference highlighted breakout sessions that allowed attendees to engage in educational interaction and humanitarian citizenship.

The conference also featured keynote addresses by Basnet and Morgan, each detailing their humanitarian work.

During Basnet’s address, she stated, “I had an idea, and because of that idea I have been able to change my life and the lives of all those children. I was an average student, but I acted on an idea.”

Katy Herbold, conference organizer and director of the Leadership Engagement Center, said of Basnet, “Pushpa was 21 when she decided to ‘do something’ about a serious social problem. Many undergraduates are close to that age, and I think that might generate some thought.”

The conference also hosted a silent auction that raised funds for the Butterfly Home and also the local Happy Factory.

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