Kathmandu, November 18
Maggie Doyne, who has been working for the welfare of Nepali children and women, was named the CNN Hero of the Year 2015 yesterday.
Doyne, a New Jersey woman, took a life-altering trip to Nepal where she saw, first-hand, the state of suffering that women and children face. Today, she and her nonprofit organisation BlinkNow Foundation provide education in addition to a supportive and encouraging community to orphaned, impoverished, and at-risk children, CNN reports.
Blinknow has been operating children’s home, school, health clinics, women’s centre and sustainability programmes for Nepali children and women. She has been running Kopila Valley Children’s Home since 2007 where she has been giving shelter to more than 50 children between 1 and 16 years of age.
Doyne was chosen from this year’s Top 10 Heroes in an online vote by CNN’s audience. She’ll receive $100,000 for BlinkNow Foundation in addition to $10,000 that each Hero received for making it to the Top 10 list, according to CNN.
“If you had told me when I turned 18 that I was going to be the mom of 50 kids, I would have told you that you were totally crazy …and I am … and to my kids … I love you so much. Don’t ever forget how much I love you,” Doyne said yesterday. “And, to the country of Nepal, thank you so much for loving me and accepting me as a daughter welcoming me into your country,” she said.
When she was in India in 2006, Nepali children’s plight there had encouraged her to come to Nepal. She had come to Nepal with Top Bahadur Malla of Kalikot. Maggie said that she had cried out on seeing the misery of children. “The miserable situation motivated me to set up a school and educate needy and poor children”, Maggie said. She set up Kopila Valley in 2010.
While accepting her award, Doyne said, “There is no time to waste. If you are educated and free, empowered and safe, you have to use your strength, your power, and your gifts to help the rest of our human family,” CNN stated. “This honour has encouraged me to do more in social service and it is the victory of all involved in altruistic work”, Maggie added. She pledged to continue educating the street children and orphans with extra vigour.
Singer and actress Victoria Justice presented Doyne with her honor. Earlier, Anuradha Koirala and Pushpa Basnet, social workers from Nepal working against women and children trafficking and children’s education have already received the CNN awards.
A version of this article appears in print on November 19, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.