On August 24th, I discovered the extraordinary story of the Kopila Valley Children's Project when my friend Rebecca posted a link on Facebook. I was immediately enthralled by the story of Maggie Doyne, an young American woman who started a home for kids in Nepal after visiting the country and recognizing a BIG need that wasn't being filled. Maggie says:
"I was trekking through the Himalayas in war-torn Nepal, where I began to meet hundreds of orphan children. I fell in love with their bright eyes and beautiful smiles, but was shocked to see them barely surviving without the most basic things that I had grown up with as a child.
As I shared my dream to build a safe home for these children, with my hometown in Mendham, NJ, I was astounded by the outpouring of support. This past year, I officially opened the frontdoor of Kopila Valley Children's Home, built brick-by-brick, by me and the local community in Nepal. There are now 28 children living in our home. We have been able to enroll eighty children into school, facilitate life-changing operations for children in need, and create a village outreach program to improve schools in remote areas. I truly believe that if every child in the world is provided with their most basic needs and rights—a safe home, medical care, an education, and love, they will grow to be leaders and end cycles of poverty and violence in our world."
The day I saw Maggie's blog and discovered her story, I e-mailed her and asked if I could sponsor one of the kids in her house. I am delighted to report that as of September 6th, I am now sponsoring an eight-year-old boy named Ansuraj, who has bright eyes and a smile that goes for miles (Maggie sent me a picture).
Maggie is also helping Ansuraj correspond with me over email, and there are just no words to describe how cool that is.
And then tonight, I visited Maggie's blog again (she publishes regular updates about what's going with the Children's Home, including her recent attempts to try to buy land for a new school). Her latest post was all about how she had to travel to a nearby city for her yearly audit by the Nepalese IRS, and it was a funny story about how she and the treasurer of her school's board triumphed over red tape with the help of a kind-hearted official.
And I was reading along thinking how cool it was that she didn't have to sit in a hot auditing office for five hours going over annoying paperwork. And I kept reading. Then Maggie told the story about what the kids in her school were doing when she got back from the IRS office. They were flying kites.
And all of a sudden, there was Ansuraj, the little boy I'm sponsoring, right smack dab in the middle of this great story – he was actually the HERO of the story – and I was just overcome with how incredibly cool it is that Maggie and Ansuraj are in Nepal and I'm in Colorado and I'm sitting here in my living room reading this story about something that happened YESTERDAY at this school on the other side of the world. I didn't have to wait six weeks for a letter in the mail. I didn't have to receive a note via passenger pigeon or messenger or any other mode of transportation that would've taken 1000 times as long.
I got to read about it right here on my tiny little computer screen with just a few clicks of the mouse. FOR FREE. I can read it, my readers can read it, and everyone else who wants to feel inspired and realize how lucky they are – and how much a difference one person can truly make in the world – can read it. Maggie became a global publisher the day she started writing her blog, and her readership is now growing exponentially, every time someone passes on a link to her site – just as I'm doing here. People all over the world can read regular updates and how her kids are doing and what adventures they're having, from our LIVING ROOMS.
That is the power of blogs. Maggie's blog made it possible for me to find her story, write to her, sponsor a child so that I can contribute to making sure he has food, clothes and school supplies, and then read a marvelous, inspiring story about that child. Powerful, powerful stuff.
Blogs are important, and they are a powerful medium for communication and change in our world, so please don't let anybody tell you that blogs are just "online journals" or any other such nonsense. Blogging is changing the world – one hyperlink, one post, one child, and one kite-flying story at a time.