Maggie, mother of 50 children. She runs her own NGO and has 2 schools in Nepal.
Maggie Doyne and her Amazing Team at BlinkNow
Here at Bowerland, we love inspirational true life stories, and one of our favourites is the heartwarming story of Maggie Doyne and her amazing team at BlinkNow. Maggie Doyne received the Unsung Hero Award from the Dalai Lama in 2014, as well as the CNN Hero of the Year Award in 2015. She is mother to 50 children, runs her own NGO and has 2 schools in Nepal.
Traveling through Nepal
In 2006 Maggie took a gap year between High School and College to volunteer in a North Eastern Indian Orphanage. A lot of the children there were Nepali refugees who had fled from their country’s civil war. She listened to their stories and started following events in Nepal. After her internship was completed, she decided to trek through Nepal with a friend.
During her travels in Nepal, she met a young girl named Hima who was breaking stones in a dry river bed to earn roughly a dollar a day to feed her family. Maggie was shocked and wanted to help Hima by paying for her tuition at a local school, along with books and a school uniform. After that Maggie helped a few more children, and witnessed the transformation in their innocent young faces. From this the idea of BlinkNow was born.
In the blink of an eye, we can all make a difference.
Maggie wanted to do more than just pay for tuition, so with $5000 babysitting savings she purchased land in Surkhet, Nepal. The local Nepalese community helped her to pour the home’s foundation. She also had a lot of supporters from her hometown of Mendham, New Jersey in the USA. In 2007, Maggie and Top Malla co-founded BlinkNow to serve the needs of Nepal’s children.
Kopila Valley Childrens’ Home
In 2008, the Kopila Valley Children’s Home opened and subsequently became home to 50 children. Although Maggie cannot adopt the children, she does have legal custody. Not all the children are orphans, but they are all from disadvantaged or impoverished backgrounds.
In 2010, Kopila Valley School was built with a grant from Do Something. Around 350 children now attend the school on a daily basis. For many of the children, they are the first in their families to attend school. The school children all receive one nutritious meal and sadly for some this might be the only meal they eat every day.
This work has made me hopeful that change is possible and 100% achievable in my lifetime.
I see this every day in front of my eyes. I am convinced that we can end world poverty for good
and we can do that by educating and caring for our world’s children.
Health Care & Women’s Center
In addition to the home and school, there is a Health Clinic and a Women’s Center for the Kopila Valley community. The Health Clinic provides preventive and primary care, as well as basic health education, to the students and staff of Kopila Valley. The Women’s Center provides life changing job training and education to the women of the Surkhet area. Kopila Valley also has a retail shop in Surkhet, staffed by graduates of Kopila’s training program and stocked with beautiful handmade products. Kopila has also expanded to include a counseling center and a micro-loan program, all part of their mission to bring women together and empower them to lead better lives.
New Environmentally Friendly School Campus
Currently, construction is almost finished on a new, environmentally-friendly school campus, which will have 20 classrooms for 500 students from pre-primary through 12th grade.
This will be the most innovative rammed earth school campus in the world. The thick earthen walls provide incredible strength and cooler temperatures in the baking summer heat. The ecologically responsible features of the school will minimize our harmful impact on the planet. The systems include rainwater harvesting, wastewater treatment, biogas, solar cooking, solar power, and sustainable land management. Read more.
Futures Programme for Kopila Graduates
Just like parents, BlinkNow is far reaching in their care for their graduates. Their futures programme assists with making the transition into housing, college, jobs. Read more about this amazing programme HERE.
When our students graduate from Kopila Valley School, they are equipped with the best education available in the region and the critical thinking skills they need to navigate their futures. They graduate with the confidence and leadership skills they need to become the future leaders and changemakers within the community. Our Futures Program prepares our students for life beyond the walls of Kopila Valley.
Maggie voted CNN Hero of the Year 2015
Maggie recently got married to Jeremy, who is also a film producer. He and his team are currently working on a production about Maggie called Love Letters to my Children. This year, Maggie and Jeremy had their own beautiful little girl called Ruby Sunshine. She is one of the happiest children we’ve ever seen. We can’t imagine a more wonderful place to grow up alongside all of her brothers and sisters in Nepal.
Ruby Sunshine and all of BlinkNow’s children are truly a testament to the miracle of raising children with love in a safe environment, and empowering them through education. There probably isn’t enough we can say about Maggie and her awesome team.
If you feel inspired to make a donation, here is a link to their website. One great idea is to make a donation in someone’s name, e.g. as a Christmas or birthday gift. You can also become a regular monthly donor, sponsor a child, create your own fundraiser and so much more. BlinkNow has a 100% score for Transparency & Accountability, as well as an Overall Score of 4/4 stars by Charity Navigator. You can also follow Blinknow’s journey on Facebook and Twitter.
About BlinkNow: The BlinkNow Foundation’s mission is to provide an education and a loving, caring home for orphaned, impoverished and at-risk children. We also provide community outreach to reduce poverty, empower women, improve health, and encourage sustainability and social justice. The Foundation fulfills its mission by providing financial support and management oversight to the Children’s Home and Kopila Valley School in Surkhet, Nepal.