Susan Sarandon helped CNN present 2012 Heroes of the Year award to an inspiring woman from Nepal, Pushpa Basnet. The founder of Early Childhood Development Center was celebrated for her tireless effort since she was 21 to provide housing, education and medical care for children of incarcerated parents.
In Nepal where space is very limited in the few group homes affiliated with the government, kids of those inmates are forced to live in jail with their parents if no other guardians are found. In an effort to give the children a chance to live a normal life, Basnet, now 29, runs a home in Kathmandu and has helped more than 140 children in the process.
66-year-old actress Sarandon presented Basnet with her much-deserved prize and gave her a hug on stage. The inspiring woman received $50,000 along with the other top-10 CNN Heroes of 2012 in recognition of her non-profit organization. She's additionally given an additional $250,000 grant for landing the top spot this year.
"These children have done nothing wrong. They are simply caught in something they do not understand," said Basnet who is called Mamu by her many children. "We want to work with the government to bring them all out from of prison. And they deserve a better future."
To the children of inmates in Nepal, she said, "Mamu's going to take you out from the prison, and you're coming to my place." She added, "This is for my children, and this is for my country Nepal. Thank you so much everybody who voted for me and who believed in my dream."
The 6th Annual CNN Heroes took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday night, December 2. Anderson Cooper hosted the event with 50 Cent, Maria Bello, Adrien Brody, Viola Davis, Josh Duhamel, Jeff Gordon, Cullen Jones, Jane Lynch and Rainn Wilson as presenters.
Additionally, David Spade, Rico Rodriguez and Miranda Cosgrove were on hand to honor three "Young Wonders," children who have already made a difference in their communities.
Ne-Yo performed his appropriately-titled song "Heroes", and "American Idol" champion Phillip Phillips delivered his single "Home".