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NJ Woman’s 10-Year Effort for Children in Nepal

In 2005, Maggie Doyne graduated from a New Jersey high school as an academic and extra-curricular standout, but felt burned out and decided to travel before heading off to college. However, on a trip to Nepal Doyne encountered a country still reeling from a civil war, and met a little girl named Hima who had lost her family to the bloody conflict – it changed her. As Doyne explains, “I knew I couldn’t do anything about a million orphans, but what if I started with this girl?”

Doyne paid $7 for school fees and another $8 for a uniform so that Hima could enter kindergarten. She then thought if she could help Hima, then why not another girl, and another? Doyne called her parents and asked them to wire her the $5000 she had earned from babysitting, which she used to purchase a piece of land in Surkhet. She then raised additional funds and with the help of the local community, spent the next 2 years building a home for displaced children.

In 2008, the Kopila Valley Children’s Home opened, which currently has 44 residents ages 3-14. Two years later, Doyne and the group opened the Kopila Valley School, which now has more than 350 students and provides a daily meal as well as health care. A women’s center and health clinic were also opened.

Now 28, Doyne remains grounded. “A lot of people think I grew up in a teepee or some crazy out there family …” she said. “But I just tell them I’m a regular girl from Jersey.”