At 18 years old, Maggie Doyne, decided to take a gap year that turned into her life’s work.
Traveling to India and then Nepal, she felt called to make a difference in Nepali children’s lives. So, she took her life’s savings, then $5,000, moved to Nepal, bought property there and co-founded the BlinkNow foundation along with a Nepali friend, Tope Bahadur Malla. Their vision, to provide kids with a safe home, medical care, an education and love, so they will grow up to be adults with a social conscience and the skills to continue the mission of ending the cycles of poverty and violence in the world.
Working hand-in-hand with Tope, and a team that is 90% Nepali, they built a children’s home, where Maggie and a team of caregivers, cooks, “aunties and uncles” take care of their family of more than 50 kids. They then built a school, staffed by an all-Nepali faculty that serves more than 350 kids, along with a health clinic and women’s center for the Kopila Valley area in Nepal. Maggie received the 2015 CNN Hero Award and her work has been recognized by the Dalai Lama for her work.
In today’s conversation, we explore Maggie’s decision to take a gap year that turned into a life she never imagined living, what drew her to Nepal and the moment that awakened her to a deeper calling. We also explore the challenges along the way, the importance of working in close collaboration with the community. We also talk about a moment of profound loss that incapacitated her for months, how that experience changed her and shifted the direction of her life.
It’s also important to note that, while this conversation is largely about Maggie’s personal story, and the life and contributions she’s made in Nepal, Maggie is also very clear that, from the beginning, everything has always been a collaborative effort, working hand-in-hand with her Nepali co-founder and their local team on the ground playing a huge role in every aspect of what’s been built.
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