Olga Murray, Who Changed the Lives of Children in Nepal, Dies at 98

After a six-week trip to India in 1984, Olga Murray flew to Nepal to hike through remote Himalayan villages.

There, Ms. Murray, an adventurous, 59-year-old lawyer, encountered stunning landscapes and friendly people. But it was the children she met during her trek along rugged mountain trails from Pokhara to Siklis that enchanted her and went on to transform her life.

“They were poor beyond anything I had ever experienced — dirty, dressed in ragged clothes, malnourished, without toys of any sort,” she wrote in her autobiography, “Olga’s Promise: One Woman’s Commitment to the Children of Nepal” (2015, with Mary Sutro Callender). “And yet, they were the most joyful, funny, amiable little kids anywhere on earth. Their most fervent wish was to go to school someday.”

One night, she was invited into a hut, where she met three children whose father said they were lucky to get an education — even if they hiked two hours up and down a mountain to school. As she watched the children sitting on the dirt floor of their hut, doing their homework by candlelight, she had a revelation.

“I suddenly knew — out of the blue, in a lightning moment — what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” she wrote. “Right then, I made a promise to myself that I would find a way to educate Nepali children.”

Ms. Murray dedicated her next 40 years to thousands of Nepali children. She began during her next visit in 1985, providing $1,200 in college scholarships to four orphaned boys.

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