CNN Hero Maggie Doyne is there for Migrant Workers at Border. Are We?

Maggie Doyne, the American philanthropist who has been educating and raising over 50 children in Surkhet through her organizations BlinkNow Foudation and Kopila Valley School, has now taken up the challenge to make sure the Nepali migrant workers coming in from India are okay. But she can’t do it alone.

The winner of multiple international awards, including the 2015 CNN Hero of the Year and Unsung Hero of Compassion from the Dalai Lama, has been going through an exhausting week — both mentally and physically — as she is working hard to be there for the people in need at the border in Karnali. She has also been constantly reporting about them from ground zero.

On Saturday, she published her first IGTV video about the issue. “I am gonna try to explain and just break down a little bit what’s happening here in Karnali and up the Nepal-Indian border. To make a really long story short, there’s about one hundred thousand, may be more, may be a little bit less, Nepali migrants working in India”, informed the 33-year-old activist.

“A lot of these folks have lost their jobs. They have been stranded in India. They wanna come back to Nepal so they can survive and have food to eat and get back to their villages and back to their families. And the Indian government agreed to do so. They started busing, trucking and sticking Nepali migrants on trains to get them on Nepali border. The issue that we had a couple of months ago was that, there’s 1600 kilometers of open border and so people were swimming, running across the border which was putting Nepal at risk for coronavirus.”

“By the time we reached the Karnali border today, you know, people had passed out. There was a guy who passed out and he dislocated his arm. So he was just waiting by the side of the road with his arm dangling. People were starving and hungry, having not been given food or access to buy food. Thank goodness, they were able to find a pipe that was carrying water from somewhere, I don’t know what the source was, and they were able to break that pipe and have some water to drink and fill up whatever canisters they have.”

“Understandably, a lot of people don’t want to go anywhere near. Like police, army, they are really worried about transmission. And no one really knows who is responsible for feeding and providing water. Is the municipality responsible? Is the CDO office? Is the district or is it the federal government, no one knows and so no one’s really able to step up ‘cos no one really has a budget for this and no one seems to know how to handle this other than making sure that people don’t escape and run off to their villages”, she explains.

Doyne has been doing her best to join hands with the government and other organizations to help these people in need. But we can’t simply rely on others and keep waiting for them to take action during this life or death situation. It’s okay not be able to be present there physically but let’s do whatever we can from our end and help these people get home safe. If one person can make such a difference, imagine what it would be like if all of us do our bit.

If you want to be part of this and help Doyne feed these people, here’s how you can support (courtesy of Shrinkhala Khatiwada’s IG).

And if you are abroad, here’s the link to do the needful – CLICK HERE. And do follow Maggie Doyne on Instagram for all the updates.

It’s time to unite again like we always do.


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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