Thank you for your interest in our work at BlinkNow. We know there is a lot of curiosity around what we do – and what you can do to help. Below, please find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we find in our inbox.
What is the relationship between the BlinkNow Foundation and the Kopila Valley Children's Home & School?
The BlinkNow Foundation is the sole provider of funding for Kopila Valley Children's Home & School, and Kopila Valley Children's Home & School is the only recipient of BlinkNow funding.
Is the BlinkNow Foundation a 501(c)(3) nonprofit?
Yes, we are an official 501(c)(3), EIN 26-0819262. The BlinkNow Foundation is the U.S. side of Kopila Valley Children’s Home & School and there is a U.S. Board of Directors. All charitable donations are tax deductible.
No, BlinkNow has a strict no visitors policy. We strive to provide a stable and consistent environment for our children, and we've found that an influx of visitors is disruptive to the learning and educational environment at the home and school.
As mentioned above in our visitor policy, we focus on maintaining stability, consistency, and safety for our children, which means we are unable to accommodate short term volunteer requests. If you are interested in being part of our team in Nepal, the only way we accept volunteers is through our Kopila Fellows program. The Fellowship program currently requires a minimum 12-month commitment. If you're interested in volunteering, we encourage you to read the Program Requirements and Core Expectations. If you think you are a good fit, fill out a Fellowship application or (if there are no open positions) join our volunteer mailing list to let us know about your interest and we'll email you as soon as we have any openings.
Is there any other way I can volunteer my time?
Are you hiring? Can I join your team?
All open BlinkNow positions are listed here: Join Our Team.
No. Unfortunately, due to the remote nature of our project, the unreliability & expense of shipping, and strict customs policies, we cannot receive in-kind donations. In line with our mission, we also do our best to source everything we need for our home and school within our local community, providing much needed revenue for our local economy. If you have a donation of children's clothing or other school supplies that needs a home, please consider reaching out to your local social services organization.
Can I donate my airline miles?
Yes! Absolutely. We occasionally need to fly our children elsewhere for medical care and our staff does a great deal of traveling back & forth, so we are grateful for donations of airline miles. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Can Maggie speak at my school, company, conference, club, or other event?
An inspiring speaker, Maggie Doyne delivers a hopeful and promising story and message. She has been the keynote speaker at commencements, Forbes Summit, and Operation Smile. She also enjoys speaking with young people. To learn more about fees and availability, please fill out our speaking engagement request form and we'll get back to you right away.
I'm a journalist interested in covering your story, how can I learn more? Whom do I contact for an interview request?
To learn more, we encourage you to read through the BlinkNow Journal as well as reviewing our press packet and previous interviews on our Press & Media page. All interview requests should be sent to email@example.com. Thanks so much for your interest in our story!
Can I interview Maggie for my school project?
Maggie is not able to participate in school projects. There is tons of information and facts on Maggie's life & story in her recent interviews and videos to help with your school project. Thanks for choosing us!
I want to talk to Maggie! How can I do that?
Due to the enourmous amount of mail Maggie receives and her responsibilities with the children, she is not able to correspond personally. Our team does read all email, and we are always grateful for your positive messages.
Can I adopt one of the children in Kopila Valley or another child from Nepal?
No. International adoption is currently closed in Nepal. You can read the official U.S. State Department Adoption Notice here.
How can I correspond with a student or class at Kopila Valley School? Can I be a pen pal?
We have a Kopila Buds Facebook page for exactly that purpose! Please join the group so we can share and learn about each other’s schools, cultures, and lives. Posting specific questions to the Kopila Buds group is the best way to interact with Kopila Valley students and teachers.
First: spend time in the specific region you are interested in working in. Learn the language. Read, read, read! Gain as much knowledge and facts and figures as possible. Pick up books on development and education. Find local partners and collaborators equally committed and invested, with similar ethos, dreams, and visions. Ask them what they see as the needs in their community, listen, and together come up with a way you think you can all improve the problems you are hoping to address. Start small, with one child, one mosquito net, one meal. Get to know other projects or NGOs in the region who are doing similar work, then ask questions! What worked for them? What mistakes did they make? What do they wish they had known when they started? We believe: “Miracles are a result of hard work.” So no matter what you do, never ever give up.
What is the best way for me to share your story with my children, book club, church group, Girl Scout troop, or company?
We recommend starting with these videos by and about Maggie.
If you'd like to learn more about Maggie's fees and availability to speak at your event in person, please fill out our speaking engagement request form.
What does the word Kopila mean?
Kopila means “bud” in Nepali. It was a word chosen by our local community and founding members in Surkhet because we believe all children are buds, ready to blossom. As we like to say around here: “Kopila Valley is a place where children bloom.”
How do you select the children who get to attend your school or live in your home?
Every year during admission we are overwhelmed with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of applications for Kopila Valley School. We have a selection committee made up of community leaders, teachers, and volunteers who interview potential students and go through paperwork to choose the most deserving candidates for Kopila scholarships, which every student receives. We administer an entrance exam for placement purposes and to ensure the student can fit in at the standard where the specific academic seat is available.
As for the Children’s Home, we are currently at capacity and are not accepting new children.
Who has legal guardianship of the children?
The children in the home consider Maggie as a mother figure and each other as siblings. It is a true, loving family. In some cases, Kopila has legal guardianship of the children. In other cases, their legal guardian is someone outside of the Children’s Home or an auntie or uncle who works and lives at the home or school.
What do the children like to do in their spare time?
Favorite activities around the Children’s Home include sports like cricket and soccer, marbles, kite-flying, kabaddi (Nepal’s national game), dance parties, chungi (Nepal’s version of hacky sack), picnics, and reading. Family games of capture the flag, ultimate Frisbee, hide & seek, and kickball are also popular on the weekends.
What is the food like?
We are mostly vegetarian and eat a lot of dhal bhat (rice and beans) and vegetables! We also drink lots of Nepali chai tea.
Do the children speak English?
We strive for our children to be bilingual and literate in English, as well as their native language of Nepali. At home and amongst friends and family, Nepali is spoken. In the Kopila Valley School classrooms, we switch back and forth from Nepali to English. By sixth grade, our goal is for students to be competent in both languages.
What do the children study? What curriculum do you use?
Our students take a full course load including Science, Math, English, Social Studies, Nepali, Health, and Physical Education. We use both Nepali standard government curriculum as well as elements of International Baccalaureate (IB), International Primary Curriculum (IPC), and Montessori. We’ve created something that works for our needs and, being a young school, we are always changing and adapting it.
Where does my donation go? What are you currently fundraising for?
We always have specific campaigns and projects going on, especially with the children getting older, the recent launch of our Women’s Center and the new construction for the Kopila Valley School. We’re building a larger, permanent campus for Kopila because the current school is on leased property and built for temporary use out of earth and bamboo. (Plus, some of the kids are high schoolers now!) You can view a complete list of our needs & wants on our Wish List.
The biggest help is with our month-to-month operations and everything that goes into raising a family and running a school. We pay water and electricity bills, teacher salaries and, believe it or not, over 50% of our budget is food alone. Every brick, window, desk, school uniform, vegetable in our garden and even the rice we feed our kids is met through your generosity. We value every penny of every donation, and see that it goes to sustaining and supporting our children – and securing their futures.
Can I start my own fundraiser? Can I dedicate my birthday, wedding or other special event?
Yes! We would be so grateful to you for creating a fundraiser for BlinkNow and the community at Kopila Valley. In the past, our friends have run marathons, climbed mountains, hosted book and soccer cleat drives, and even crowd-funded for a school bus! Choose an item from our Wish List and start a campaign today. Together, we can change our world.
What specific items can I fundraise for?
Great question! Below is a list of approximate costs to give you an idea of how far your fundraising dollars can go here in Nepal, and you can also check out our Wish List:
- $50 buys all non-school clothing a child needs for one year including casual clothes, pajamas, shoes, and underclothes.
- $100 provides a grant to one of our Women's Center graduates to help get their business started.
- $180 buys a yummy nutritious lunch for the whole school.
- $480 provides a Kopila Valley School scholarship to one student for an entire year.
- $1,250 pays for one year of primary care for 10 of our children. Pays for an annual physical, health screenings, Kopila Clinic visits, vitamins, and vaccines.
- $10,500 provides a solar backup system for energy support during power outages.
- $50,000 builds our new state-of-the-art science lab and supports our budding future doctors and engineers.
Can I donate to a specific program within the Kopila organization?
- Children’s Home
- Kopila Valley School
- Women’s Center
- New school construction
How is Maggie a mom to over 40 children?
With A LOT of help! Our team works incredibly hard. We have loving aunties and uncles who care for our children at all hours of the day. We have volunteers, interns, and the Kopila Fellows. Our teachers and administrators and everyone from neighbors to government officials to our chief of police make things run smoothly! The older kids also do an amazing job – each room has a big brother or big sister who cares for the little ones.
How can I make a difference like Maggie did? I'm not sure I could set out so far away from home like her.
One person CAN make a difference! If you are inspired to create positive change in our world, consider volunteering for a cause or effort that touches your life. Poverty or hunger. Cancer or AIDS. Clean water or clean energy. A local nonprofit or a global initiative. Whatever inspires you to act: Get out there and do it!
What service learning, gap year, or travel abroad programs do you recommend?
Our program was ignited by a gap year program, a year off before or during college to travel the world. There are dozens of amazing study abroad and service learning programs out there. Maggie started with a program called Leapnow (the semester program) that was absolutely amazing! We definitely recommend doing some research on programs, talking to people who have gone through them, and finding a program that works for you and what you’re looking to gain from your travel experience.