Our Everything

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Photo credit: Pramin Manandhar

On Sunday, February 17, 2019, we opened the doors to our new sustainable green campus in Surkhet, Nepal. This campus means so much to all of us, especially to co-founders Maggie Doyne and Tope Malla. Here is an excerpt from Maggie's speech on the day of the Grand Opening, an emotional moment for everyone. 

Today, I share with you a story of a little boy. This little boy was born in a very, very rural remote mountain village. Life is really hard in this midwestern region of Nepal -- you farm everything that you grow for food, and in order to have water, you need to carry it up a large cliff. 

This little boy lost his dad when he was just one years old, and then when he was nine years old he lost his little sister, because of a simple infection. When he was eleven years old he lost his mother, and was left as a orphan with his three siblings. 

He dropped out of school to take care of his cows and grow food, so his family could eat. He had to make a choice: even though he was at the top of his class in school he ultimately had to choose, do I study or do I feed my family? He chose to feed and take care of his family. 

At thirteen, he was old enough to travel seven days by foot and bus to India to find a job. He worked as a child porter, climbing on top of buses and carrying bags. Then he got himself back into school, got himself a job, rose to the top of a premier organization throughout his 20’s. He taught himself how to drive, taught himself English, and became the managing director of a project working with doctors and Nepali refugees during the Civil War.  

Maggie during her Grand Opening speech.Photo credit: Pramin Manandhar

You would think that that would be the end of the story -- what a success story! -- but it wasn't enough. He wanted to go back to the village that he was born in, and make a difference. And help other children who had been through hardship. He knew what it meant to be cold, he knew what it meant to be hungry, he knew what it meant to have a hard life, so he kept fighting and working. 

We met each other and connected right away. We decided that we would come back to Nepal together, and start an organization for children similar to himself. 

His name is Tope Bahadur Malla, he's my co-founder. 

Tope Bahadur Malla himself.Photo credit: Pramin Manandhar

Yes, my story is awesome, it’s about a girl babysitting in suburban New Jersey, but his story is so much better, and it’s not told often. And you kids, you know I often can't relate to you, growing up in rural Nepal and some of the hardships that you have been through, but I know that Tope Sir can. 

Tope, it means the world that we have you. You are our hero and our everything. I call you my left hand, because I'm left-handed. Thank you for being by my side. 



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