When I first heard about Maggie Doyne and her extraordinary story, it absolutely blew me away. Reading like a Hollywood movie, I had to stop myself to realise that Maggie's story is far more than any headline can state or script can write. It's determination, it's an unconditional love for others, it's waking up each and every morning digging deep and believing you can make a difference.
Nothing I write in this short article can portray Maggie's true journey. I'm hoping you can read it understanding that behind every statistic and achievement is a woman living a life of kindness without limitation. She dared to dream of a better world and she's making it happen.
At 18 years old, Maggie wanted to spread her wings and take some time out to learn about herself. She signed up to a Leapnow programe and began a gap year that would change the course of her life.
It was while teaching in India that she began to meet refugees who were fleeing their homes in the Himalayas. Seeing so many families arriving at their project in India, Maggie became curious about life in Nepal. So, she travelled with a friend to a village deep in the Himalayas. In this post-war country, she witnessed such extreme poverty that she never realised existed. Maggie instantly fell in love with the country and the hope that was still shining through the eyes of the Nepalese people.
Maggie knew at that moment that this was where she needed to be. While walking to and from the local village, Maggie encountered a little girl, Hima, a six year old who made a few rupees each day by breaking stones in a dry riverbed and selling them. Every day Maggie walked past her, the little girl would smile at Maggie and say "Namaste" ("Hello"). Maggie wondered how Hima's life would be transformed if she could give her an education. So, Maggie (still, just 19 years old) paid for Hima to attend school, bought her a uniform and her books.
Seeing Hima's life change in front of her eyes encouraged Maggie to put more and more children through education. She began to dream of creating a safe home for the children who didn't have anywhere to sleep, to eat and to learn.
She had saved $5,000 in babysitting money at her home in the US and she rang her parents and asked for them to send the money across to her. With the money, she bought a small piece of land on the outskirts of a little village. She wanted to build a home for children who didn't have anywhere to live.
Maggie joined forces with a Nepalese friend called 'Top Bahadur Malla'. They met when Maggie was working in India and together they began to make this dream a reality.
Maggie flew home to the US and talked to people in her community. It wasn't long before she had raised enough money to come back to Nepal and build what is now known as Kopila Valley Children's Home.
Their charity 'Blink Now', has now created the children's home (home to 50 thriving children), one of the greenest schools in the world (built from the earth, with classrooms for 500 students), a health clinic and a women's center.
As I mentioned earlier, it's so easy to write down these facts but the truth behind the journey is one of extreme highs and she has had devastating lows. Maggie is the most beautiful example of selflessness and kindness. She teaches her students that they can change the world. If they don't like the things that they see - they can change them! And most importantly, that we are ONE human family!
Now 33 years old, married to Jeremy Power Regimbal, with a child of their own, Maggie's determination hasn't faltered. She has vowed to continue her work until all children have access to education and poverty is a thing of the past. For all you have achieved and all you are yet to achieve, we celebrate you Maggie... Thank you!!!
Please do take a moment to take a glimpse at the importance of Maggie's journey at BlinkNow...
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