Maggie Doyne is co-founder of the BlinkNow Foundation and Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School in Surkhet, Nepal. At age nineteen, she used her babysitting money and worked with the local community to build a home for orphaned children in war-torn Nepal. In 2010, she and her team opened a school for five hundred of the region’s most impoverished children. Throughout the past decade, BlinkNow and Kopila have worked to deepen and grow the organization through grassroots community development efforts.
Her work has been championed by Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Nicholas Kristof and the Dalai Lama, among others. The story of BlinkNow’s beginnings has been featured on the Huffington Post, VH1, MTV, and DoSomething.org. Maggie was named Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year and was used as an example for her groundbreaking work at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy. In 2015, she was named CNN Hero of the Year.
Maggie’s story carries a message of hope, love, and the possibility of how the smallest individual acts can spark huge world change. She believes that poverty, hunger, and violence will be alleviated when children are provided with their most basic needs and human rights—a loving, happy childhood, nutrition, and a quality education. She believes that this can be achieved during her lifetime.
Her new book is Between the Mountain and the Sky shows us the goodness that is possible when a single person—regardless of age—takes action to help another and, in the process, changes the lives of hundreds.
Maggie’s story begins in suburban New Jersey, in a comfortable middle-class family that supports her decision to travel the world during a gap year before starting college. During her travels, the trajectory of her life alters when she has a surprise encounter with a Nepali girl breaking rocks in a quarry. Maggie decides to invest her life savings of five thousand dollars to buy a piece of land and open a children’s home in Nepal.
That home becomes Kopila Valley Children’s Home, and eventually, the nonprofit Maggie launches, the BlinkNow Foundation, also starts the Kopila Valley School, which provides tuition-free education for more than four hundred students. Maggie and BlinkNow’s work have been recognized around the world for their innovative, sustainable work.
However, this book isn’t a how-to for fledging philanthropists or nonprofit founders—it’s a coming-of-age story about a young woman suspended between two worlds, as well as the love, loss, healing, and hope she experiences along the way. And Maggie’s inspiring, intimate tale shows readers an important truth: the power to change the world exists within all of us.
Listen to more great episodes at Next Level Soul Podcast
Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 075
Maggie Doyne 0:00
I think we're living in a time of a lot of noise, a lot of distraction, a lot of like things coming at us. And I actually think we need to get a little quieter
Alex Ferrari 0:20
I've been able to partner with Mindvalley to present you guys free. masterclass is between 60 and 90 minutes, covering Mind Body Soul relationships and conscious entrepreneurship, taught by spiritual masters, yogi's spiritual thought leaders and best selling authors. Just head over to nextlevelsoul.com/free
Have you ever wanted to help people? Today's guest is doing just that in a very special way. We have on the show. Best Selling Author Maggie Doyne, and that her inspirational story and how she took some babysitting money, and started changing lives in Nepal, is truly remarkable. I call her this generation's Mother Teresa, and I don't say that lightly. Be ready to be inspired. Now let's dive in. I like to welcome to the show. Maggie Doyne. How you doing, Maggie?
Maggie Doyne 1:26
Good. Good to be here. Thanks for having me.
Alex Ferrari 1:29
Thank you so much for coming on the show. I am, I am a fan of what you do. You are you're a remarkable soul. And you're doing some really great work in the world. And I want to, I wanted to have you on the show not only to promote what you're doing, and to, hopefully give inspiration to other people of what can be done by a single soul on this planet, but also to talk about your remarkable story and how you got there. So how did you start this? This is this journey that you're on in life, this spiritual journey. And everything that you do.
Maggie Doyne 2:06
I didn't start out on like, with any intentions of it being this drastic change. Or I didn't put a pin on a map and say, I'm gonna go here. I was a regular girl. I grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, New Jersey girl. I grew up on a cul de sac. I went to public school, I played soccer, I had a dog and two sisters and a trampoline. You get the picture? And then I just started to question purpose and meaning. And everybody was going to college. And it wasn't just like, what college you got into was like, What was the name of it? Are you getting on the fast track? And what does success look like? And I, I just had this kind of inner questioning of like, what is it? Like my whole destiny and my whole self worth, as a child of privilege from suburban New Jersey is like where I get into college. And at the last moment, I took a gap year. And the idea of the gap year was just to have some time for self exploration rite of passage, seeing the world outside of suburban New Jersey, going on adventure, finding my passion for learning outside the four walls of a classroom. And the gap year was incredible. It changed my life like traveling can do. And it was fun. It was all of those things that I mentioned, I got curiosity back for learning. I served. I played adventures, I met people, the world was my oyster. And then I ended up in northeastern India. And that's when I started to meet refugees and Nepali migrants fleeing the crisis that was going on in the war in Nepal.
Alex Ferrari 4:07
Then so what what, what so where did you go oh, by the way, and all that like all that sounds fantastic suffering and this and that. Where did you go?
Maggie Doyne 4:17
That was like that just puts you in the mindset of my 1718 year old self and that I think it's relevant to the story because it wasn't about like
Alex Ferrari 4:27
A spiritual, spiritual pilgrimage.
Maggie Doyne 4:30
No, it was kind of just about realizing that this track in this bubble that I'm in isn't working and I want to go like I have questions. So it was just kind of the first yes to myself and no to like the status quo beaten track that I was headed on and what I thought success look like that's what your green room to do as a suburbia kid,
Alex Ferrari 4:52
You know, it's so fun. It's so funny because I think the entire Western world has had a It's a wake up call with the pandemic. And a lot of time when everybody just slowed down for a second, they had a moment to go, Is this really what I want to do? Do I want to keep doing this to want to just do this for another 30 years retire? And and then just wither up and die? Like is this this is this this the purpose of why I'm here, and you had it at a team, you started that you questioned the path, which I envy by the way, it would lucky that you found that you had the insight to have the question, to ask the question, and then take the courage, have the courage to act on it and go, You know what, let me just go out and see what the world is going to bring me. That's a very powerful message for the audience listening because even, I mean, obviously, 18 is a great time to do it. But if you're 55, right, now, you can do it. If you're 70, you can do it. If you're 30, you can do it, there's always a chance to shift the direction that your life is going and and it's so inspiring to hear that because I mean, when you're when as as you were saying the story all I could hear in my head was Julia Roberts and Eat Pray, Eat, Pray, Love.
Maggie Doyne 6:16
Just jumping over here, Bali, and then the Italy and into this. Love is like a verb. Now I'm gonna have my moments.
Alex Ferrari 6:25
It Right. Yeah. I mean, Elizabeth did a fantastic job. In that story. So So you meet you meet the refugees from Nepal. What at that moment when you when you when you are embraced when you embrace that kind of energy of, of what's happening with people. You know, when I've traveled, the handful of times I've traveled in my life. And you meet, you go into into neighborhoods, but towns or villages, and you see how they live? And you go, oh, oh, it's not just like the way I was raised. Like, you know, there's poor in the US. And then there's poor, outside of the US. Don't get me wrong. Obviously, there's a lot of poor people in LA people that have issues here in the US as well. But I remember driving, I remember driving through Mexico, and seeing basically four pieces of wood with some sort of roof, and a satellite dish attached. Which I always thought was found like, wow, at least I have TV, I don't have TV yet. So it's just fascinating to see that kind of poverty, and it affected me really, really a lot. So I can only imagine what happened to you. What happened when you I'm assuming that's the first time you embrace that or were exposed to that?
Maggie Doyne 7:46
Yeah, I mean, this is back in oh, five. So it wasn't something that I was exposed to or that and maybe there's just something people tell you about it, you can read about it. There's something about seeing it in the real life, like just looking and staring at another human being realizing that you won the birth lottery, realizing that she could be me and I could be her and he could be like, it's just yeah, staring it in the face and seeing what it means to be a migrant to be a refugee sleeping under a piece of plastic, the just what children are up against. And you know, when we can't find a way to care for our children, and we're talking like most basic human needs and rights, there is a direct correlation to poverty and violence in the world. It's it's scientifically proven economically proven that these cycles are perpetuated and generationally surmounted year after year, decade after decade, life after life, and you have this opportunity to stop that in its tracks and change the trajectory. And it's really simple. It's about children being raised with love and nourishment, food, basic health care surfaces, and an opportunity for an education. But it took me a while to learn that first it was kind of just staring that in the face and seeing the plight of vulnerable children in this world and what it looked like and what their lives look like breaking rocks carrying loads on their back as child porters human trafficking, just like the belly of the beast of what kids in this world are put through in order to just survive in order to just have a chance at life and that kind of brought me to hopelessness and despair. And just like is this what we're accepting as a human family like is how is this okay? Yeah, that was kind of the beginning of it all.
Alex Ferrari 9:48
Know when you so when you it sounds to me that you were processing it all like you were just trying to take it in and process it through the filter that you your life's experience filter at the point in the game. At what point did you say I have to do something? And then when you said I have to do something, did you say, Okay, now what am I going to do?
Maggie Doyne 10:12
Yeah, so there was this one moment, and it was on a river bed, and children were breaking rocks to sell his gravel. And they were taught toddlers and five years old and seven years old. It was just a child labor situation for the thrive. So they were taking bits of rock and breaking it and trying to sell it. And you'd hear the claiming of the rock and just see this imagery working. And it was that was the moment it was this real human moment moment where just the universe around me just erased itself. And it was just locking eyes with one child and her name was Hema. She was wearing an orange dress. And she looked at me in the eye and said Namaste, didi. And you know, the meaning of Namaste, right?
Alex Ferrari 10:56
Please tell it for the audience.
Maggie Doyne 10:58
Well, on a very surface level, it's a greeting, and it means hello. But actually, on a soul level, it means the Spirit in me, the soul in me recognizes the soul and you that's why it's been so widely adopted in the yoga community. And there was something about that. Namaste, everyone says namaste to everyone. Also, everyone has everyone's DD you call everybody in this part of the world sister, brother, uncle, you know, probably in your culture as well.
Alex Ferrari 11:26
Oh, yeah. Yeah, in the Latino culture, as you do that, as well,
Maggie Doyne 11:29
Everybody's an uncle or have that, you know, our sister. So um, but it just stopped me in my tracks, even though it was just a normal, everyday interaction. And she was literally just probably taken aback by this foreigner being there. And I was like, Well, I can't do anything about this whole sophisticated problem. We've got hundreds of millions of orphan children in the world and vulnerable children out of school. But maybe I could do something for Hema. And at that point, I didn't think I could look away.
Alex Ferrari 11:59
And then so what was it? What was the next step? What was the process that you went through to start? Like, how did you want to help? Did you like, take her in specifically? Or did you start planning on how you were going to build a home? And how did you go for it?
Maggie Doyne 12:12
It was like, What does help even look like right from here, and what's my role in this and kind of understanding he was life and what had led her to the riverbed, and Hema had a single mom. And she was one of the only daughter and a family of brothers, so she wasn't being invested in. And the barriers for her to get into school were just too much cost wise. So I started to just study this issue and kind of look and learn and learn Nepali. Bring on a team around me, investigate local schools understand the implications of a child and what it takes to get them into school. And the first step was that I enrolled Hema into a local school and she was kind of like my test subject. And then I started on the river bed, just one child at a time or a child begging at the bus station. We started by enrolling kids into school. What happened next is that of course, you realize like on the hierarchy of needs, education is up here. Well, what's down here food, a safe haven home, warm, family love, and then you can get into education. So the second part of the equation became creating a home base and a center for children who didn't have a mother who truly lost everything, and having that home intervention as well with all the other services. So we my co founder taupe and I bought a piece of land in Nepal for $5,000 of my babysitting money.
Alex Ferrari 13:39
And then when you open and you bought a piece of land you you start you built a home you built your you know what did you build there?
Maggie Doyne 13:47
It was the home yeah, it was the home we started we it was kind of like a center for children. So we didn't roll kids into school and help them with all of the services needed. And then the kids who needed a home and a family came into the home and it was yellow and bright and it was not an orphanage it was we turn that narrative on the head. And I became a mother very young. I became a mother to now 58 children.
Alex Ferrari 14:13
Oh my god, that's so so beautiful. And so Okay, so there I'm assuming there were some struggles along the way.
Maggie Doyne 14:20
Alex Ferrari 14:22
Can you talk a little bit about the struggles that you had to me because it's all it sounds it sounds very storybook right now like I go I find I find this the soul that I want to help I start trying to help other souls that buy a piece of land, open a home and everything works out fine, does it
Maggie Doyne 14:35
Yeah the journey was impossible. And I went in with rose colored glasses as an 18 year old with I think the right attitude, the right questioning the right spirit, the right intentions, but that wasn't enough. And actually, the whole book is that narrative of failure and culture and wrongdoings. And what is right, and slow organic change and suffering losses. I think I used to have this narrative that was exactly that you, your intentions are good, you work really hard. You put good karma out in the world and then just good things happen.
Alex Ferrari 15:16
It was a struggle.
Maggie Doyne 15:17
This is a podcast about spirituality. It's just not true. It's a false narrative in the spiritual worlds. You can pray all you want shit and still happen.
Alex Ferrari 15:27
No question, you know, you know, as a spirituality podcast and trying to, it's not about the, you know, like, like my, like my daughter said the other day, she's like, oh, yeah, dad, dad, all you have to do is sit there and go, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. And I'm like, no, she literally did yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. In meditation, and I'm like, Oh, my God, that is brilliant. And, yes, obviously, when you, you know, you can transcend and you can go deeper spiritually. But life is life. stuff still comes at you. It's how you react to life, which is the only thing you truly have control of. It's how you react to those things. And I had a guest on who said, this wonderful, wonderful comment, which was, you only control up to the ends of your fingertips. And everything else. You truly have very little control, if any, at all of the only thing you can control is up to your fingertips. I was like, Oh, that is true. So yes, I imagine Yes. Oh, yeah, I have good intentions. I'm trying to help the world. I'm trying to heal these children, I'm trying to, obviously, everything should work out fine. So it does at the end of the day workout. But there is a journey that has to be passed.
Maggie Doyne 16:44
Yeah, it's been incredibly successful in so many ways. We're still here. 17 years later, we've helped hundreds of kids, there's no longer children working on the riverbed breaking rocks, it's amazing the world we want to live in and but it was hard, and it was gritty, and we had so much loss, and you know, just navigating the culture, for example, you'd go in with this like fighting spirit. And I recognize right away that as a foreigner, as a Jersey girl, as an American, it wasn't about exporting my own culture, my own belief system, I tried really hard to immerse and belong and speak the language and understand the culture and speak the language, all the things. But I had I was only a piece of that I could only do so much it really we had the people themselves and the people had to self determine what was important for them. And what were the changes they wanted to see in their community. And at times, that got a little warped for me, because in Nepal, when girls are menstruating, for example, they sleep in the cow shed. And they're considered tainted, that's a spiritual cultural belief that women are menstruating are tainted. So you go in to say, to question and be like, Why are girls and women sleeping the cows have now they're highly at risk. It's not just girls go to the cow shed. And that's where girls die of smoke, inhalation lighting fires to keep warm, they die of cold, they die of snake bites. They're at risk for sexual assault. Women who are bleeding after you have a baby you believe they're kept outside with their newborn baby. Because of a cultural belief, sure. So you'd kind of like start to push the culture ask questions about the culture? And the the answer you'd get was like, it's the culture. And so bringing about change to some of those issues was really hard. early marriage. Well, that's the culture girls marry when they're 1516. Why are you involved getting involved in the culture? So there was we had to use a lot of tact. We had these a lot of empowerment tools, training skills, knowledge is power conversation, cultural conversations, we had to build a team. And in that process, oh, my gosh, we fell and got back up again, we fell, we got back up again. And I wanted to write the book to pass on that learning to the next generation. And anyone who wants to do that, save you some time.
Alex Ferrari 19:14
That's what I love about your story. That's why I'm asking detailed questions about your journey. Because so many people might listen to the first part of this interview and go, Oh, I'm, I'm gone. I have to go and go surfing and I have to go save the world. There is and that's great. And we need more of that in the world. But there is the realities of the journey that needs to be addressed. You know, I, you know, on my other in my other side of my life, I am a filmmaker. And I have another show that talks about the process of filmmaking and it's very similar, very similar ideas, Rosie either like, I'm going to be a movie maker, I'm going to be a director. And like, I'm just going to show up, I'm going to tell a story, and they're gonna just hire me and I'm gonna go work on a huge big movie. Even in live in the Hollywood Hills, I'm like, and then I'm there to teach them. That's definitely not the way it works. So in the similar fashion, you're doing the same thing with your book and with your story, where we want to inspire people to change the world and in and do what they can. But they have to understand that there are challenges that come along and to be prepared for them. That's all.
Maggie Doyne 20:24
Yeah, isn't that the fine balance, though? Like, even as a parent, you want your child to dream big dreams and have a vision, that's the power of youth, you want them to be like, Why do we live in a world where children are dying? Yes, children don't have their basic needs. And it doesn't have to be this way. You know, that was me as a young person, like, let's just do better. And you want to like harness that dreaming and that energetic spirit, and without tempering it too much. But you also want to be like, Okay, wait a second. We it's like this fine balance, right? When you're having that conversation, going back and writing the book, I'm 35. Now looking at my 18 year old self, I want to be like, Okay, girl, let me tell you all that is about to lie ahead. Because you don't want to be like a dream. squasher, right. But you also want to tell people, okay, let me tell you what's going to be hard about this journey. Let me set you want to set the expectations. It's so hard, right?
Alex Ferrari 21:18
Like, because look, I've lived I lived a life of an artist. So as a life and the art life of the path of an artist is one of the more difficult career paths you can walk any art. It's It's brutal. But yet, let alone trying to get into a business like the film industry. It is absolutely just brutal. So, you know, my, my kids want to start thinking about doing things and and we're very open and very, you know, they're young still. So we don't have to worry too. They're not that far ahead yet, but laying down the realities of the world not to squash the dream. But to just know, this is the past. It is not, it's not what you think it is. I've been down this road. I know this road very well. And I've thought and if they don't believe my story, I've got 600 other stories of episodes of similar people,
Maggie Doyne 22:11
Could you recommend your kids to be artists?
Alex Ferrari 22:15
Absolutely! But there, because the concept of the starving artist is a falsehood. Many of the greatest artists in the world in history, were extremely wealthy, extremely successful. It's about how you approach the process. That's the difference. When you're when you want to become an artist. I knew as a filmmaker, I'm like, I need to do something to feed myself. So I got, I got technical knowledge of how to edit, how to do post production, how to do visual effects, that was my base. So I could always eat and yet still be in the art still be in the business. While I'm chasing my dream. That's how you do it. So learning certain skill sets, that is adjacent to the dream, you can make connections you make, it's the best way to go about it. It's not the easiest, but it's the best. As opposed to someone who's like, I'm just gonna write and be a writer, like, you should probably get an internship in a writers room, you know, go work for free somewhere. And that's how you that's how you start the process. So, yeah, but I would absolutely I would, but I would be very, in any art form, I would explain to them, okay, this is what you need to do to do this. This is what you need to do to do that. But absolutely, the world needs more artists. We need more people like you. And we need more people who who think outside the box and questions this world that we live in. I think I wanted to get your take on this right now. I think the world is going through such a massive shift. In my lifetime, I've never seen anything like it. Probably in yours as well. That the entire planet is you were feeling the entire the entire planet is feeling the same thing at the same time. I don't know if there's been something like that in human history, before the pandemic shut the entire world down. If I would have told you that, would you believe it or not? It's seems like a bad plot for a movie. So that climate change the economic strife. We're on the brink of world war three. We're like if I would have said any of these things, you know, like, you're insane. That makes no sense whatsoever. How could we were all feeling that so there seems to be something happening. The politics of the world is shifting. So try becoming so split so tribalistic. I've never seen anything like it in my lifetime. What's your take on this shift that we're going through? Why do you think that we as a as a society as a species is going through this right now? And I don't think we've hit bottom yet. We have not We're on our way to bottom. And I do feel that we need to. I think I forgot somebody, some religious leader said, this one's like out of chaos. Chaos is a fertile ground for for change. And it's unfortunately true. So what are your thoughts on that?
Maggie Doyne 25:17
I think it's a call to humanity to come together. Right, and for us to make really hard decisions about the future of our humanity. And I think in chaos, and in turmoil and in violence, it's really easy. The resistance shows up, and the fear shows up, the anger, the frustration shows up, and your gut is to put a little fence around you and your family and who you love and close up to protect yourself. And I actually think that what we need to do is open and share and work together and come together and get, you know, knock down the walls, knock down the boundary boundaries, look at each other as a human family, and work together. Now, will we do that? I don't know, will it happen in our lifetime? I don't know. I believe that we have the tools and the resources and the wisdom to find a way to exist on this planet together and take care of our children. But we're not doing that right now. We haven't found a way to care for like, if we can agree on children. That's you can't look at a face of a child, we agree that it's not worth throwing a bomb. We've we've got a long way to go, we have a really long way to go. And it's frustrating that I think the masses of people are good and kind and want don't want to see children suffering or hungry. When the majority of people would look at a hungry person or a child and do something I believe that we're innately kind, the grid, but we have to go beyond. And it to me, it's really scary that just a few people are making these calls.
Alex Ferrari 27:09
And it's truth, though, it's always the truth. It's always been like that throughout human history. And the you know, one or two people start up some stuff. Yeah, they just start up some stuff. And
Maggie Doyne 27:21
What else just wants their family and their kids to be cared for and to belong, and to be a part of something and to do good and to be good and to be safe? We all want the same things. And yet we're not getting there.
Alex Ferrari 27:33
I think that I think that we're all moving. If we don't change the trajectory, we won't survive. So we there has to be I think the universe, whatever you want to call it is setting us up to like, look, this is this is the crossroads here. You know, we can't keep at this pace. In this direction, if we don't make a conscious shift as a species. We're not going to we're not going to move forward. It's so funny to because on the climate scenario, you know, if the United States tomorrow became 100%, energy, independent, completely renewable energy, we didn't burn another piece of coal, or burn another piece of another gallon of gas tomorrow. If we can't get the rest of the world on board. It doesn't it doesn't it won't, it won't help. Yeah, it's so there has to be this not only working smarter, but working as a, as a unit as a as a tribe, as a human, human, a human tribe. I think also, that's one of the things that the reasons were as successful as a species on this planet, is because we have the innate ability of working together. And I think that part of empathy that we have, that the statement that you said earlier, I think we're naturally kind and want to help. It is on our nature to do so. Because if we don't help, we can't defeat the Tigers that are down by the river who are going to eat us. We have to work together. And that is one of our strongest, strongest superpowers as a species. But generally speaking, our egos get in the way. All these scan the way
Maggie Doyne 29:23
Interesting like push and pull that happens and I think we know I think we're smart enough to know that we're only as as a collective, your existence relies on mine and we're only as strong as our weakest links. You know, our most vulnerable our most there's so much opportunity there with with children, right? We rely on each other. And yet we still draw up the boundaries and the borders and the territories and the mind you're we're still dealing with racial Reckoning and there's still So much injustice and inequality. And I do think I like to think like if I put on my positive lens, my optimistic lens, we could reach a tipping point.
Alex Ferrari 30:13
We're getting there.
Maggie Doyne 30:14
Either that or Mother Nature will correct itself. I think Mother nature's perfect, and she'll just wipe us out
Alex Ferrari 30:21
Ohh there's no, she's already given us warnings. So I mean, I've never seen so many hurricanes and for forest fires and earthquakes and things happening in the world, it's just, it's just insane. Like the weather is insane.
Maggie Doyne 30:36
Mother, Mother Nature in the world has always found ways and will adjust itself. It's the question, Can we can we figure it out? Before she does I think.
Alex Ferrari 30:47
Well, look, we're not even a couple of blinks in the history of the planet. I mean, we we've only been around a second second. A hot second, really, we think we're the bee's knees. But at the end of the day, the bees are more important. On the planet, I wanted to I wanted to touch on something, because you are such a giving soul and you've you've dedicated your life to your mission. I want you to explain to people what it feels like to help another human being at the level that you do. Because it's something I'm asking this question because it's so important because I know that when I help somebody, you actually get an endorphin hit. When you you share you you you are empathetic with another human being. You want to help there is this feeling which is there on purpose. So you help people so you can can work together to protect yourself from the Tigers down by the river. What is it like for you to help those children? What is the feeling that you get doing this day in and out because as you've said, This is not an easy journey. This is not all rainbows and butterflies.
Maggie Doyne 32:06
Yeah, I mean, we all know that you get a whole lot more in return. I have family I have a life surrounded by love and purpose and meaning. And I consider myself one of the luckiest women on earth. joy and laughter, uh, a life surrounded by children who I love. And I also think it makes sense. It works. Like I know, in every cell of my body that it works. Like you can take a child with every struggle in the world, and they're strong, and their spirit is resilience, and make sure that they have access to just what they deserve. And they do the rest, and they become these loving, amazing people on the planet. And I believe that the path to peace is right there. And I love living that life and getting to watch it in action. Watch, you know, our children go off and into the world and become leaders and changemakers. I mean, it's a powerful privilege to be able to parents be a teacher to be a guide for kids. And I just I'm really grateful. It's the best feeling in the world, with a lot of love also comes a lot of pain, because you have to be unattached, or which is impossible when it's, I mean, maybe the Buddhist of the world would say they can do it, but it's hard to love without attachment. And I love a whole lot of kids.
Alex Ferrari 33:40
I was I wanted to ask you, what did your family think when you said, Hey, guys, I'm gonna go to Nepal, buy some land and open up a school, like, were you supported? What did your friends think? Like, what was that? Because there's that little community around us that we look forward toward, especially when you're 18. For for the Okay, that you know, you know, support. But that's not always there. So what was it like for you?
Maggie Doyne 34:09
Um, my parents were really supportive. They ask lots of questions. It happened piece by piece kind of step by step, but they weren't. I said, Yes. So the gap year, of course, they were really supportive of that. And then that became another extension and then another extension. And I think each step along the way, they were seeing that my learning journey wasn't over that I was surrounded by good people that I was finding a Purpose Driven Life, which by the way, is the purpose of education and like what we all seek to do on the planet, and I was really lucky, they were supportive because I think a lot of parents would have been like, no, no, come on, you're going to college. And they never did. They never gave me an ultimatum. They always supported it.
Alex Ferrari 34:51
That's amazing. That's in you're very blessed to have that because, you know, many American families would have not done that. No, no. Have most would have, would have had issues with it. Out of all this all the stories of people that you have helped over the years and children you've helped, is there one that sticks out in your mind being like, so inspirational, that might be able to bring some inspiration to our audience?
Maggie Doyne 35:17
I mean, gosh, every single story is inspirational. But yeah, we basically see children through their weakest moment. They've we've had children who have lost their entire families, oh, God, the essence of an orphan, you lose, they've lost everything. And now, I think Hema story is incredible. Like she was a rock breaker, she was just stifling through garbage for food. She just started college and university, she wants me to start your own restaurant. So many stories like that, it's we're hiring our kids back, we have a student who is a really severe victim of domestic violence, she, we just hired her back. She's like our chief finance accountant, you know, to see someone at their weakest moment that their struggle, and then watch them like rise to the top on their own, like really, because of them. And because you know, we're a piece of facilitating what they already deserve. It's so powerful, and I love it. And I will do it till the end of time. I'm so grateful and so privileged that I get to play a small role in it. And it's not just me, I have a whole Nepali team around me, we have supporters around the world who make that possible and believe in us, and then trust us and believe in philanthropy, and radical generosity, and really, really grateful that you've been around this long,
Alex Ferrari 36:48
What can you know, you've been exposed to so much humanity. And you've seen the stories of these children from their lowest darkest points to where they've become, what are some lessons that you think that people in the West can learn about life, because I'm thinking about just that story of the first girl that you saw, she was breaking rocks and digging through garbage, and now she's in university, being wanting to become a chef. The perspective on life of her versus many of our contemporaries in that class has to be radically different. Where, you know, in the West, you know, this, because you were raised here, you know, we're spoiled, we just don't know any different because this is just a land of wealth and opportunity. But the rest of the most of the rest of the world is not like that. So what are some lessons that you think that we can in the West learn from, from, from the stories that you've in the exposure you've had in your life,
Maggie Doyne 37:54
I think we're living in a time of a lot of noise, a lot of distraction, a lot of like things coming at us. And I actually think we need to get a little quieter, a little less distracted, a little more present. To look for those moments of kindness and human connection of me for you, it's not going to happen 1000 miles away, and Nepal. That's not going to be everyone's journey. We're all on a different journey. But there is an opportunity to change the world and to change the reality of this place that lies within each of us. And in order to find that I think we need to listen to our hearts, we need to get more grounded in the reality that we're in and try to quiet the noise of, you know, we're here to consume, consume, consume, we're not leaving with anything. We're leaving with a legacy of what we did to make this place better, and how we loved and how kind we were. So I just think every day just getting quiet, following our hearts looking for little steps, little, you know, pebbles we can throw to create ripples of change, and human connection. That's how my journey started. And I think I believe my life is way better for it. And I wish that for everyone.
Alex Ferrari 39:11
Is there something that we can also take from the people of Nepal, because I know they're they're a little different than Americans, let's say or Europeans. How is there? Is there any anything that we can take away from their, from their community, their culture thing, just lessons that you saw as a Westerner being brought into that world?
Maggie Doyne 39:36
I was so captivated. And so just warmly humbly welcomed. I think it's a trope to say like, there's so much happier with nothing. I don't want to say that because I think that narrative needs to die out a bit. I do think that Nepalese are incredibly resilient, strong are resourceful and they take care of each other. I do believe they, they innately take care of each other, they have that sense of pride and where they come from. And a beautiful dedication to family and culture. And the strength to figure out what their country is up against and pull through. And they do a lot more with a lot less. That's for certain, and they complain a lot.
Alex Ferrari 40:36
We didn't have toilet paper for a couple of weeks, and we lost our minds.
Maggie Doyne 40:40
Oh, gosh, and they're looking at us, like, why do you use toilet paper, it's so dirty. Like, it's true. There's so many different thing. And it's like in Nepali, it's like a garden a what to do, like what to do, you know, let's just, this is what is very, they don't really take seriously the hardships and they plow through and move on. And it's hard to speak on behalf of entire people. But that's my experience. And I love my team and our team is incredibly resourceful kind, they work really hard. And they believe in a better future too. So a lot we can learn from especially those rural Himalayan communities and the way that they interdependence and how they rely on each other in such a rural setting.
Alex Ferrari 41:27
Now, can you tell me about blink now.
Maggie Doyne 41:29
So blink now is our work is changing the world by empowering Nepal's children, we're working towards a world where every child is safe and educated and loved. We've got a beautiful model for change in circuit, Nepal, in the Midwest. And we have a women's center, and a safe home for girls. They have a nutrition program, and a medical clinic and a sustainable farm. And the children's home in a beautiful, beautiful school. That's a full service community school that gives the most vulnerable child everything they need to thrive and grow. And we hope people will follow along Be inspired support if they can. And it's where the blink now foundation.
Alex Ferrari 42:20
Now how can people or businesses help people like yourself, and your your cause and what you're doing.
Maggie Doyne 42:28
You can follow along, you can share the story, you can invest your philanthropic dollars or your CSR into our work. And it's provide a transformational gift for our programs and our children. And we will take any gift that we get and immediately and effectively put it into action to change the world for the children in the community in the region we serve.
Alex Ferrari 42:53
What do you wish someone would have told you at the beginning of this journey for you?
Maggie Doyne 42:59
It's gonna be really hard, it's impossible at times. But you will learn and you will overcome and lives will be changed and improved upon
Alex Ferrari 43:12
Will do you have any other is that the same advice you would give someone who wants to start something like this in their community,
Maggie Doyne 43:18
I think my advice would be to listen and learn from the local people and see what your role is and how you can be a support and how you can partner with other initiatives come together with other people doing that work. And start within your your community. And start where you are use what you have.
Alex Ferrari 43:41
And tell me about where people can buy. Oh, you're amazing book between the mountain on the sky. Beautiful, beautiful cover, by the way, love the cover,
Maggie Doyne 43:54
Thank you. It's about motherhood. It's about grief. It's about change. It's about learnings. It's available anywhere books are sold absolutely everywhere in anywhere your independent bookstore, online, anywhere in everywhere.
Alex Ferrari 44:09
And we're in what was the reason you decided write this story because there's some this is pretty, pretty raw.
Maggie Doyne 44:15
It is a very raw story. It's real. It's a lot of truth telling, I wanted to get beneath the surface of the highlights and the press and the media and really share a deeper perspective. And I wanted something to pass on to my children, many, many children a piece of my own truths and my own learnings and our story and our history.
Alex Ferrari 44:37
That's amazing. And I want to ask you two questions. Ask all my guests. What is your mission in this life?
Maggie Doyne 44:45
To make the world better for children.
Alex Ferrari 44:48
And why do you think Well, I mean, what is the ultimate purpose of life?
Maggie Doyne 44:51
To live this planet better than we came into it.
Alex Ferrari 44:58
And where can people find out more about you and your organization.
Maggie Doyne 45:01
I'm Maggie joining and you can follow blinknow.org
Alex Ferrari 45:06
Maggie, it has been such a wonderful conversation, I am inspired by you and from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for all that you do, not only in the area and the world that you are doing it but by writing this book and inspiring hopefully many other millions of people to do the same because if we're able to do that, we might be able to make that shift and survive this insanity that we have. So I appreciate you so much. Thank you.
Maggie Doyne 45:37
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for having me.
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