Maggie Doyne- Kopila Children’s Project

Maggie Doyne's heartfelt & inspiring keynote address
Maggie Doyne’s heartfelt & inspiring keynote address

Looking into the eyes of a 6 year old orphan carrying a heavy sack and realising that they were connected, “it was like looking in my own eyes,” Maggie Doyne says of this key moment when she decided that this girl’s plight was totally unacceptable. From that moment on, Doyne has tirelessly devoted her whole life to helping make a decent life for children in Nepal, she is the founder of BlinkNow.

Thanks to the Think Global School, and the Hiroshima International School, we recently had the pleasure to listen to an inspiring Keynote speech to the 2014 graduates by Maggie Doyne in Hiroshima. This young woman has an extraordinary story and her work with the Kopila orphans and her BlinkNow Foundation has been featured in Forbes as the “2013 Excellence in Education Winner.” The New York Times cover her story in their article about inspiring women making a difference around the world, “DIY Foreign-Aid Revolution,” She has also been recognized by the Dalai Lama for her kindness giving her an award as an “unsung hero of compassion.”

It was simply amazing to me that someone so young can have the conviction and drive to take on such an enormous project like this, and positively affect the lives of so many people.

Maggie first went to volunteer in Nepal on a gap year after high school. But when she noticed the abject poverty and dire conditions the children were living in there, she didn’t just accept it as the sad state of the world and move on with her life; she stayed and worked hard to change it. She enrolled a little orphan girl in a local school for the year for just $5. She then became so inspired to help as many kids as she could, that she called home for her parents to wire the bulk of her savings. Once she used the money to buy a plot of land, she then returned to the US for a few months- just long enough to raise enough funds for the orphanage and school.

This project has now bloomed into not only a home for more than 40 children, but she is also helping start other schools and develop other support networks for the women, children and community. When I heard her talk I was so moved by her passion that I thought, “what can I do to help?!”

solar installationI’m very excited to be starting a campaign to help raise funds for BlinkNow by running the fundraiser “Sustainable Bliss.” We chose the solar panels and garden project to help the Kopila Children’s Project gain sustainability and self-reliance. I remember when we traveled around Nepal there were often blackouts so energy is most definitely an issue in this small village. Here in Hiroshima, we love having solar panels on our house and for most of the year we actually get more back than we pay to the utility each month! It really is a great system for solar owners in Japan.

So, we’ll be sending our “earnings” each month from our unused solar energy sold to the grid. If you’d like to donate to our fundraising campaign to help reach the target, please do. It’s quite easy to donate on this page, or you can pass it on to me in person. I’ll also be collecting at any of the “hiroshima international family” playdates & events. Please feel free to pass on a few coins if you’d like to help reach the $2,000 target.

There are many different campaigns you, your clubs or schools could start to raise funds for BlinkNow (the foundation set up to fund the Kopila Children’s Project). You can start your own personal or group page and choose which of their needs you’d like to raise funds for: support women’s education, children’s health, fund classroom materials, sustainability and more. The BlinkNow website makes it easy to become actively involved- you’ll be able to see the progress online, share with your friends and family on twitter, facebook, etc and be able to make such a difference to the lives of these kids and their community!

jjwalsh

Been enjoying living, working in and writing about Hiroshima since '98- co-founder, editor, photographer and writer for GetHiroshima.com / GetHiroshima map + GetHiroshima magazine

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