MyNorth News Service

(Press Release provided by Utopia Foundation)

TRAVERSE CITY: The globally involved Utopia Foundation, here in Traverse City, is especially concerned for Nepal facing the devastating impact of a 7.8 level earthquake and aftershocks of 6.7, occurring this past weekend. There is huge loss of life and injury (well over 5,500 dead). The infrastructure of daily life, already under stress in one of the poorest countries on earth, has tumbled. Food, water and medical resources are scarce. There are so many that need help it may be overwhelming to consider where to begin. Consider taking a look at a local connection to Nepal.

One very special project and champion Utopia Foundation and other TC locals have come to know and support, is 2012 CNN Hero of The Year, Pushpa Basnet and her Early Childhood Development Center in Kathmandu, Nepal. Pushpa came to Traverse City in 2014 to meet our community and introduce them to her amazing efforts through the award-winning documentary produced by CMU graduate, Thomas Morgan, called Waiting For Mamu. Morgan is also the commencement speaker at CMU’s graduation ceremony in just a few weeks. He is traveling to be on-site with Pushpa on 5/15.

Home to nearly 50 kids, adopted by Pushpa out of prison because their mothers are incarcerated, the ECDC/Butterfly House was almost complete in construction when the earthquake hit and has remarkable damage. The rental house Pushpa and the kids were in, is also damaged.

Wary of aftershocks and unstable structures, Pushpa and the kids have been staying outside in the field through heavy rain under a makeshift shelter. These next few months will be a struggle as infrastructures for food, water and shelter are compromised. They really need you.

Utopia Foundation Suggests Ways You Can Help

  • 1. Make a donation on the website, or mail checks to Utopia Foundation with ECDC/Butterfly House noted in the memo. 100% of your donation goes directly to support Pushpa and the kids.
  • 2. If you belong to Rotary, talk to your group about making a donation. It will be matched by Utopia Foundation up to $5,000 for the first five Rotary Groups.
  • 3. If you are a student or faculty at a school or University, The Utopia Foundation will match the fundraising efforts for up to 10 schools, at $500 each.
  • 4. When you purchase Paperworks Studio paper or cards during the months of May or June, 2015, Utopia will donate 10% of sales.
  • 5. When you purchase products from Great Lakes Bath & Body during the month of May, they will donate 10% of sales.
  • 6. Corporate matching grant programs. Leverage your corporate matching grant program with an added 10% match from Utopia Foundation. Identify corporate match on donation information.
  • 7. Purchase and watch the award-winning documentary by Thomas Morgan, “Waiting For Mamu” – MGO is donating 100% of the funds for Pushpa’s ECDC Butterfly House
  • 8. Go There! Through our Utopia Volunteers division. Director, Deborah Asuncion will help guide you in designing a service travel program that will put your best skills to work for Nepal.

Utopia Foundation, started in 2007 by Paul Sutherland, will continue to support global populations struggling with crisis through their Rapid Crisis Relief Program. They are committed to providing opportunity for people to express their good intentions in local and international communities. Paul Sutherland describes their approach, “We invest in Champions that have the desire to create or are part of resilient projects that create sustainable improvements in the livelihoods of those in need – Pushpa Basnet in Khatmandu, is one of those Champions.”

It is Utopia Foundations’ mission to help create a world where communities thrive and every child goes to bed feeling nourished, loved, happy and hopeful about tomorrow. Utopia Foundation is a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information, please visit or call Lindy Bishop, Executive Director, 231-995-7968.

Pushpa and her kids had just released an uplifting video called “Happy” a week before this disaster. “I can only imagine that the making of this video has further instilled a sense of personal pride and a high level of morale, continually fostered by Pushpa. Their respect for her will allow them to face their current hardship in the best of light,” says Bishop.