Making a Difference for Nepalese Children

In January my daughter and I visited Olga Murray in Kathmandu. Her story helps us all see that “ONE WOMAN CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE”. We met her kids and saw first-hand the work she’s done at the homes for children.

It all started in 1984 when, on her first trip to Asia, Olga found herself captivated by the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. “I got off the plane in Kathmandu and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the land, the exotic surroundings, but most of all by the children. They were poor beyond anything I had ever experienced – dressed in rags and dirt, malnourished, mostly unschooled, but with an amazing capacity for joy. I thought that for the price of a good haircut, I could make a huge difference in their lives.’” So she returned to the USA determined, somehow, to do just that.

By raiding her own savings, and securing donations from friends, she returned to Kathmandu with the wherewithal to establish a home for the country’s throwaway children – street urchins, handicapped kids, orphans, or children who had been abandoned – often by parents too poor to feed them.

As word spread about her work, generous people worldwide wanted to help. In 1990, two years before she retired, Olga founded a non-profit organization, Nepal Youth Opportunity Foundation ( NYOF, and just in time. The children’s home, originally for boys, had of necessity become coed, and was full to overflowing. NYOF rented another house, and a home for girls was born. Both homes provide children with warm beds, hot meals, a safe haven and security. NYOF provides these kids not only private education, living and medical expenses, but love and personal attention—just as a good parent would do. And the kids will be taken care of from childhood through college.

Since her retirement in 1992, Olga has divided her time between her home in Sausalito, California, and a new home in Kathmandu, devoting all her energy and ability to help her children. Olga is living proof that getting older does not mean slowing down. “I’m not that different than I was 25 years ago,” Olga says. “I’ve stayed active and interested in life. Regular exercise – walking, going to the gym, lifting weights for my knees and back – has helped me stay healthy. I haven’t had a cold in fifteen years. Also, I’m more positive and more confident. I know where I’m going and what I want to do, so I don’t get so involved in my own problems.”

READ MORE in my next blog about buying girls out of bondage: Indentured Daughters Programs.


2 Responses to “Making a Difference for Nepalese Children”

  1. 1 Yale Jones February 9, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Dear Marybeth:

    I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation and greatly appreciate your mention of Olga Murray and our work. From the beginning you described, our work has grown to include many different and very effective programs benefitting Nepal’s most needy children. They can be seen at I’m especially proud to tell you that 100% of our programs in Nepal are implemented by our all Nepalese staff and partner grantees and hence are tremendously effective. Thank you again for this recognition.

    Yale Jones
    Taos, New Mexio, USA

  2. 2 shristi09 January 30, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    hello i am very impressed with Olga Murray’s work in Nepal. I am originally from Nepal too and have been in the UK studying journalism. I am planning to do my project on indentured daughters in Nepal. So i am really hoping to get in touch Olga Murray and know more about her. She is really an inspirational person and was very interesting to know about her good cause she has done for Nepal and changes she brought in the life of many children.. Yeah surely age doesnt make any difference and surly she is a living proof. So i hope to hear from you soon. Many thanks Shristi

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About Marybeth Bond

Marybeth Bond is the nation’s preeminent expert on women travel. She is the award-winning
author-editor of 11 books.

Marybeth has hiked, cycled, climbed, dived and kayaked her way through more than seventy countries around the world.

She was a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Marybeth has appeared on CBS News, CNN, ABC, NBC, National Public Radio and National Geographic Weekend.

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