Save the children of Nepal, well that’s a lofty goal that only Olga could tackle. Let me explain why she’s not any ordinary woman or volunteer.
Olga was an attorney who worked for 37 years, helping write opinions for two California Supreme Court chief justices in San Francisco. Today, at age 88, she still crisscrosses the globe to help children. She has been a guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” NPR, and National Geographic Weekend, and was honored by the Dalai Lama and the former king of Nepal.
Twice I traveled to Nepal and visited her children’s homes in Kathmandu and learned about the Nepal Youth Foundation‘s (NYF) programs, which she founded.
Why Nepal? During my round-the-world journey I lingered for five months in Nepal to trek and explore Kathmandu. I have returned seven times since. With friends, we adopted a Nepali guide and put him through college.
Olga also went to Nepal to trek and fell in love with the children of Nepal. Watch her video and you’ll be inspired by her too.
Olga Murray spends half her time in Sausalito and the other half in Kathmandu, where she works to buy girls out of bondage in a rural farming district in southern Nepal. Poverty forces families to sell their daughters, as young as 7 years old, as domestic slaves or worse.
1. Introducing Olga Murray, who. . . please explain in a few sentences what you do and what you are working toward.
I am the founder and former president of the Nepal Youth Foundation, which works with impoverished children in Nepal. We provide scholarships to many hundreds of students, from kindergarden to medical school, have established 16 small hospitals to tackle the terrible problem of malnourishment of children, operate two small, excellent homes for children, and have created a program which eradicated the practice of bonding small children to wealthy employers as kitchen slaves.
2. What was the greatest challenge you had to overcome?
My own fear that I and our foundation would not be able to sustain the projects that we started almost 25 years ago. I had no experience in fundraising or in running a nonprofit, and felt an acute responsibility for the children whose future depended on us.
3. Where is your favorite place for physical and spiritual rejuvenation?
I love the mountains and used to enjoy trekking in the Himalayas, but at 88, I am content to look out at the ever-changing scene of the sea beyond my window.
4. Have you had a woman mentor? What has she taught you?
Not a mentor really, but very close women friends who have supported and encouraged me in every step of my life, personally and professionally. Without their encouragement, I don’t think I would have gotten an education (when I grew up, few high school graduates went to college) and would have been afraid to venture into an endeavor to help children in a country 8,000 miles from home, in a society and culture so unfamiliar to me.
5. What is a favorite quote?
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is the temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
– H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama