My journey today is to share about another’s amazing journey, and how her courage and love have impacted so many people. I learned about Maggie Doyne through Elizabeth Gilbert, and her Facebook page.
After high school, as Maggie’s friends headed off to college, this 18 year old boarded a plane and set off to explore the world. With only a backpack and an open heart and mind, she traveled through four countries before finding herself in the Himalayas, hiking along the dirt roads of Nepal’s poorest villages. In the midst of this poverty, Maggie met Hima, a six year old girl breaking rocks to sell to help feed her family. Although she was barely surviving, Maggie saw a spark within this child. Most people might feel compassion for the plights of such a child. Maggie decided to take action as well.
She began by helping Hima, sending her to school, paying for her tuition, uniform and textbooks. Seeing the transformation in this young girl’s life, Maggie helped a few more children, and then a few more. The need was great. The children needed a home. Over the next two years, Maggie’s dream of providing one for the children took shape. She used her life savings to purchase land in Surkhet, Nepal. She founded the organization, Blinknow, and with the help of the Nepalese community, supporters from Maggie’s hometown in New Jersey, and people from around the world, the home was built, brick by brick.
In 2008 the Kopila Valley Children’s Home opened its door. Currently 51 children reside at the home, with Maggie as their mother. Her BlinkNow co-founder, Top Bahadur Malla heads up a team of caregivers, cooks, “aunties” and “uncles” who help care for the children. In 2010 a primary school was opened. More than 350 children from Surkhet and the surrounding area are getting an education, many of them the first in their families to ever go to school. Beyond schooling, the children are provided with health care and a nutritious healthy meal each day.
On the BlinkNow website, which you can visit HERE, is this quote:
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.
Elizabeth Gilbert, who has shared Maggie’s story previously, is making a difference as well. She threw down a challenge this week. If people would donate $10,000 to BlinkNow, her favorite charity, she would sing Total Eclipse of the Heart during karaoke at The Diamond Horseshoe Club in NYC, and post the video. Her challenged stemmed from her desire to push herself beyond her own comfort zone, by singing karaoke. When people asked for evidence of her singing, she came up with this challenge, pledging to match the donations, dollar for dollar. If somehow $20,000 was raised, she’d also sing a rendition of Faithfully, by Journey.
As of this morning, more than $30,000 has been raised for the children of BlinkNow, with more donations pouring in all day. A very generous donor has agreed to contribute an additional $50,000, meaning that so far, more than $110,000 has been raised for this very worthy charity. I made my donation as well, touched by the heart of this teenage girl who didn’t walk away from suffering and poverty, but rolled up her sleeves and asked, “What can I do?” And…I want to see Liz’s karaoke video! It will be posted tomorrow and I will update this blog post with it. Donations are still being accepted HERE until midnight tonight, if anyone feels so led to contribute to make life better for these kids. Type the world KARAOKE in the special instructions box, as Liz is still matching donations. And of course, regular donations are accepted by BlinkNow at any time!
Maggie says, “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?” The children of the world are our future. All the children. I am grateful to have learned of Maggie and her kids, and the BlinkNow organization. In the blink of an eye, we can all make a difference, indeed.