In 2005, Maggie Doyne was just another high school senior from New Jersey that was excited about college and all the new possibilities it would bring. Consumed by the SATs, application deadlines, soccer and boys, Doyne never thought that, at 22, she would be building the Kopila Valley Children’s Home – designed to give Nepalese children basic necessities, such as food, water and, most importantly, education.
After just completing her senior year of high school, Doyne asked her parents to take a year off from college to go on an excursion around the world with the organization Leap Now, in order to take part in ecological and cultural projects. “I’ll never forget the morning—after having been up all night cramming for an exam—that I stumbled downstairs in my pajamas, and announced to my parents my wish to take a year off. So, as my classmates headed off to college, my parents dropped me off at Newark Airport—just me and my backpack on my first solo trip away from home. As nervous as I was, (and I was!), there was something really liberating about this first journey. I had no idea where the road ahead would lead. I felt like there was something inside me, something deeper, something just waiting to be unleashed.”
With a group of 12 other students, Doyne helped rebuild a deteriorating sea wall in a Fijian tribal village, worked with native Maori Tribes to restore their stream, spent time with aborigines in the outback, took outdoor leadership and survival courses, and even learned how to meditate at a Buddhist monastery! Not bad for a girl just out of high school.
After the trip with Leap Now, Doyne decided to venture out on her own and do an independent internship in an orphanage in Northeastern India. However, what was supposed to be just a 3-month internship stretched out into a full year. Doyne says, “While I was in the orphanage in India, I started meeting Nepalese refugees, mostly children who had fled the country during the Maoist Insurgency. I decided to go to Nepal to see the aftermath of the war with my own eyes. Before I knew it, I was trekking through the Himalayas and passing through some of the most poverty stricken villages in the region. I was astounded by the conditions, burned temples, ransacked homes and destroyed schools. I fell in love with the bright eyes and beautiful smiles of the children but was shocked to see many of them struggling to survive without their most basic needs: A safe home, food, clothing and the chance to go to school.”
This was what brought her to build the Kopila Valley Children’s Home. “I started following the news and events, speaking with NGOs, (non-government affiliated organizations) peace organizations, government officials and resident villagers in the border region of Nepal and discovered that one of the biggest issues in the country, was the lack of facilities for the country’s misplaced children; ex-child soldiers, orphans, and young girls sold into sex-trafficking.”
As soon as she began to learn more about these unfortunate, mistreated children, Doyne quickly asked her parents to wire all of her babysitting money to her savings account. By 2006, Maggie Doyne was able to buy the five thousand dollar piece of land that would later turn into the incredible Kopila Valley Children’s home.
Now, Maggie Doyne is living full time in Nepal, with various breaks to the U.S.. She is currently developing Blink Now, a non-profit organization that is not only the U.S. side of the Kopila Valley Children’s home, but also a vehicle that shares Doyne’s ideas with teenagers of the world today.
Unfortunately, the INSPIRE@BTHS Team was not able to meet Maggie Doyne due to her very busy schedule. For this reason, we were not able to ask her the questions from the Marcel Proust Questionnaire. However, here is a video that really showcases the heart and vigor of Doyne’s personality – one of a truly gifted and giving woman.
Maggie Doyne is an incredible woman to say the very least. She is diligent, strong-willed and a true revolutionary. The INSPIRE@BTHS Team cannot wait to see what new and exciting projects Maggie, and Blink Now, will be up to next.
So everyone, as Maggie Doyne says, “In the blink of an eye, we can all make a difference.” Be assertive. Be curious and most importantly, be inspired.
Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.