“Everything we’ve done, we’ve done together.” -Maggie Doyne
While Nepal pushes towards democracy and economic growth, too many women and children are suffering from extreme poverty, harsh labor conditions and severe economic inequality. This is the population we serve.
THE JOURNEY TO KOPILA VALLEY
After Maggie’s senior year of high school, as her friends headed to college, the 18-year-old boarded a plane in New Jersey and set off to see the world with just her backpack and eyes wide open. Four countries and 20,000 miles later, she found herself trekking through the Himalayas and walking along the dirt roads of Nepal’s most poverty-stricken villages.
It is here that Maggie met a six-year-old girl named Hima, one of the hundreds of struggling children she met on her journey. Hima was breaking stones in a dry riverbed and selling them to earn a few dollars to feed her family. She was barely surviving, yet a glimmer of light shined deep within. Maggie was shocked by what she saw and decided to take action.
What have we done as a human family that our children are living this way? More importantly, what can be done to reverse the course?
Maggie got to work. She helped Hima go to school, paying for her tuition, uniform, and books, and started to transform her life. Then she helped a few more children, then a few more. But her money could only go so far. More was needed. These children needed a place to call home.
A TRUE DREAM HOME
Over the next two years, the dream of building a safe, clean, stable home became a reality. Maggie purchased land in Surkhet, Nepal, with her life savings of $5,000. The home’s foundation was soon poured thanks to the astounding help of the local Nepalese community – led by BlinkNow Co-Founder Top Bahadur Malla – along with an emerging group of supporters from Maggie’s hometown of Mendham, New Jersey, and others around the world. Brick by brick, walls began to rise. The roof went up. And in 2008, the front door of Kopila Valley Children’s Home opened.
Kopila, which means “flower bud,” is now home to a family of over 40 beautiful, happy, thriving children, and of course their mother and guardian, Maggie. Top heads up our dedicated team of caregivers, cooks, “aunties” and “uncles” who keep the house clean, the children fed and everyone’s spirits high.
SCHOOL IS IN SESSION
In 2010, another dream came true: Kopila Valley School. The primary school, built out of locally harvested bamboo, is gorgeous and bustling with over 350 children from Surkhet and surrounding areas. Many are the first in their families to ever attend school, creating a new generation of literate, educated students who will become empowered adults. Our all-Nepali faculty and staff make sure each and every child is set up for success.
Beyond schooling, the students are provided health care and a daily nutritious meal, as well as a sense of community and confidence that grows with each passing year.
A FOUNDATION FOR THE FUTURE
At BlinkNow, we believe that every child in the world should be provided with the most basic needs and rights – a safe home, medical care, an education and love. And with that, they will grow up to be adults with a social conscience and the skills to continue our mission of ending the cycles of poverty and violence in our world. We believe that in the blink of an eye, we can all make a difference.
Over the years, our passion and commitment have turned into a home, a school and a successful grassroots organization. The vision of the BlinkNow Foundation is to:
Sustain, grow and support Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School in Surkhet, Nepal
Serve as a vehicle to share ideas with others, especially children and teens in the U.S.
Empower young people to become pioneers in developing their own solutions to world poverty
The time for change is now. In addition to the home and school, we provide a Health Clinic and Women’s Center for our community in Kopila Valley. Construction is under way for a high school. And more ideas and inspirations are always on the horizon.