Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Local Hero : Maggie Doyne |ˈhi(ə)rō| - A person, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. New Jersey native Maggie Doyne is an exemplary individual who in many ways defines a modern day hero. Upon graduating high school she decided to take a year sabbatical to travel the world - a decision that would quickly change her life forever and in turn, change the lives of hundreds of Nepalese children. To learn more about Maggie's inspirational story read below:

During her travels in 2005 Maggie landed an internship at an orphanage in Northeast India where she met a plethora of Nepalese refugees (mostly children) who had fled the country during the Maoist insurgency. After developing steadfast relationships with many of them she decided to head to Nepal and see the state of the country firsthand. She was dumbfounded by the effect poverty had on the small country and in particular, on the children of Nepal. Many were living without shelter, food or any sort of educational system. She immediately went to work with the end goal of seeing, in her lifetime, all 80 million orphaned children worldwide provided with these basic needs. Of course that is enormously ambitious for only one person so she decided to start small. After extensive research she discovered that the biggest issues in Nepal are the lack of facilities for the country's displaced children including ex-child soldiers, orphans and young girls sold into sex-trafficking. After locking eyes with one young girl who she saw so much of herself in, Maggie assumed her $8-10 tuition cost, paid for her uniform and school books. Seeing how much this turned one life around she knew this was just the beginning of a lifelong initiative. With her babysitting money Maggie purchased land in Surkhet, Nepal where she built a two-story safe home for orphans and named it Kopila Valley Children's Home. Today, there are forty children living there. In the spring of 2010 Maggie's dream expanded when Kopila Valley Primary School was born, which currently educates over 230 children (nursery - 8th grade). Many of these children are the first of their families to be provided with an education. Maggie's story taught us that the first step to making a difference is having a dream, courage and above all perseverance and integrity.

Maggie has established the grass-roots BlinkNow Foundation, which educates others on how to make a difference and a way to share her brilliant ideas and life-changing initiatives. To see how you can make a difference click here.

"I believe that in the blink of an eye, we can all make a difference. We are truly limitless!" -Maggie Doyne