March 16, 2019

“Chora paune lai khashi, chori paune lai farsi” During my 45 days long stay at Kalikot district of Nepal I often found local women making this rhetorical yet literal remark denoting that postpartum woman would be offered treat of mutton soup on the occasion of male child’s birth and pumpkin soup if the newborn is female. More often than not, this implied the disparity in care a postpartum woman received on account of the newborn child’s sex but by and large it could be construed as the existing gender-based discrimination in the region. This writing is based on my personal experience d... read more >>

November 16, 2018

The shortest needle of the table clock was about to align straight with number nine when Kopila woke up to loud screams of exuberant neighbourhood kids playing on the street. A strong feeling of annoyance rushed through her, not for being disturbed from sleep but rather for being disrupted from a sweet dream about her crush at school; the most joyful aspect of life for someone who only a month ago had blown off the fourteen candles lit on her birthday cake. "Brats!” she whined squinting through the blanket and tried to go back to sleep and resume her dream. After a few minutes of vain attemp... read more >>

May 8, 2018

That first night, I dreamed about the scholars. Nothing profound. They just appeared here and there in other stories, silent, like Hollywood extras, filling out the scene. But I noticed them. I saw them. And I woke to wonder how I could possibly do their stories justice. How can I allow others to see what I saw, to hear what I heard and to feel what I still feel? It’s as if an honor has been bestowed upon me and I am fearful I am not worthy and that I will fail. People have asked me since I’ve been back, “what was the best part of the trip?” And I have to really think about it. Because... read more >>

April 9, 2018

I always used to pass through Gaushala-Old Baneswor lane. Each time I passed by this lane, I would see those well-designed, painstakingly handcrafted walls and windows and fascinating brick buildings. The architectural designs speak of Nepal’s rich cultural Newari heritage and the splendors of the Malla period. All that makes this particular hotel in Kathmandu, the Dwarika’s, much more beautiful. Though I admired this building each time I passed by, it never occurred to me that I would one day visit it. It was something I watched and enjoyed from afar but never dreamt to go – that was fo... read more >>

March 29, 2018

How does it feel to take a weekend getaway when you have been following the same tedious routine? Good, doesn’t it? Well, I was ecstatic. I was looking forward to the day when I, along with another Bo M. Karlsson Foundation scholar, Mandira didi, was going to accompany Sonnia auntie and Shannan—who at the time were visiting Nepal to meet all of us—in Dhulikhel, a hill town situated 30 km southwest of Kathmandu. On Friday, 10 March 2018, Sonnia auntie, Shannan and I enjoyed a full day visiting Bhaktapur with our BMKF family. The whole day had been filled with lots of laughter, fun and pho... read more >>

March 24, 2018

The 14 March 2018 was a day filled with joy and special moments. That morning, we, the scholars of the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation, eagerly awaited spending time with our very kind, supportive, loving and motherly natured Sonnia auntie and Shannan didi, and our special guest from Sweden, Mats. It was a debatable question whether they were our guests or we were theirs. But this question is a silly one---none of us were guests, because we are a family bound together, and we had warmly welcomed each other as such. On this day a group of us were asked to go to the Gokarna Forest Resort, a beautiful... read more >>

March 20, 2018

On any other day, voices hollering my name from a taxi window might have alarmed me, but on this day I was so happy and excited to see the faces inside the taxi that without hesitation, I jumped in! It was finally the day I had been waiting for, a visit to Bhaktapur Durbar Square where I would spend my entire day with the person I most dearly wished to see, Sonnia Auntie, and the person who was new to me yet so close after the first meeting I had earlier, Shannan didi. Surrounded by the beauty of the location and the company of the BMKF family members, I felt I was on a day out with my own fam... read more >>

February 5, 2018

What would you do to ensure your child’s success? What if you lived in a place where your sons are encouraged and expected to go to school, but your daughters…they are expected to stay home and take care of the household. What if the cost of an education meant you could only send one child to school? In a place where girls continue to be discriminated against and patriarchal practices remain, the odds of a girl attending and completing school are not very likely. Especially when there is more than one girl in the family. However, when parents embrace the dreams of their children, it makes... read more >>

October 20, 2017

Our fantastic kids have met their goal! This year the Phoenix Penny Drive broke its own record with a whopping $3,000 raised for scholarships by our fabulous Phoenix and her amazing helpers Kaia, Teo and Ely. Started in 2012 by Phoenix Cheshier, who at the time was only six years old, the penny drive has yielded more than $10,000 to date. We are deeply grateful for the contributions of so many supporters--thank you to all! Special appreciation goes to Phoenix and her Penny Brigade for a job well done. And many thanks to Chance Karlsson Kelley for hauling pennies two years in a row! We would al... read more >>

October 14, 2017

Tihar is one of the most dazzling of all Hindu festivals. Also known as festival of lights, it is considered to be of great importance among Nepalese people. Tihar is celebrated for five days, with different traditional rituals performed each day. A beautiful aspect about this festival is that it not only marks a celebration of humans and gods, but also represents the attachment between human and animals. The first day of Tihar is known as "Kag (Crow) Tihar". On this day, people worship the crows by offering different food items in a plate made of saal leaves. The second day observed is "Kukur... read more >>

September 20, 2017

One of the things that I vividly remember from my school days is exchanging greeting cards among friends with short poems and warm wishes written in them. When there was enough savings from our pocket money, we would buy glittered and fancy greeting cards. More often, there was not enough savings so we would become creative and craft beautiful handmade cards. I always preferred, and still prefer, the latter since that feels more personal. This was usually done at holidays, especially the Dashain Festival which is the most widely celebrated festival in Nepal and also marks the longest vacation... read more >>

September 12, 2017

The late Lucile Flanagan was an exceptional woman of rare strength, beauty and grace who firmly and passionately believed in the power of educating women. She was a successful professional woman, a dear friend and champion of our organization, and through the years she donated often and generously to the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation. She thoroughly enjoyed receiving our newsletters and having periodic lunches with me to hear the latest news, triumphs and tribulations of our scholars, and to learn more about Nepal and the culture she had become so fond of through my tales and the personal essays o... read more >>

September 7, 2017

Here in rainy, beautiful Ketchikan, Alaska a group of ladies meet once a month to discuss a book that was selected for that month. Besides wonderful conversations, we enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea along with a delicious home cooked treat. The books that often move us the most are stories about women in third world countries who are making a difference in the lives of girls. We decided as a book club made up of all women, most of whom are educators, to collect money at each meeting for the purpose of promoting the welfare of girls. After looking into a few organizations working to bette... read more >>

March 21, 2017

Last month, when BMKF scholars were invited to meet U.S. immigration attorney and social entrepreneur Tiffani Sharp, they didn’t know what to expect. Tiffani was visiting Kathmandu to launch a new project for Willow Tree Roots (WTR), the nonprofit she founded and directs to help women in developing countries gain socioeconomic independence through entrepreneurship. In Nepal, WTR is partnering with Shakti Samuha, an organization that rescues women and children from brothels and entertainment industry. The project will teach income generating skills -- including tailoring, design, and business... read more >>

February 26, 2017

In 2011, a little girl named Phoenix started a penny drive for the BMKF. She was six years old and wanted to help raise money for the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation, the organization founded by her grandmother Sonnia in 2004. During one of many conversations between the two of them, Phoenix learned of the difficulties women faced in Nepal and she wanted to do something to change all of that. "What can I do, how I can help?" she asked one morning over breakfast. Since Phoenix was very young at the time, her grandmother, Sonnia, suggested starting a penny drive by asking friends and family to donate... read more >>

December 31, 2016

Thank you to everyone who supported our Jyamu, Lhamu and YOU campaign, BMKF’s end-of-year fundraiser for 2016. Our goal was $10,000 and we collected $8,500 -- enough to pay for two years of undergrad study for Jangmu Sherpa (BSN) and Lhamu Sherpa (B.Ed.). Both young women are working hard on their education and careers are they are about to start their second year of college. The two scholars aren't sisters, but share the same Sherpa surname and ethnicity. Read on to learn more about Jangmu's and Lhamu's personal stories and professional goals. Lhamu Sherpa Hometown: Bamti Bhandar, Ramechha... read more >>

July 22, 2016

BMKF scholar Grishma Manandar ’11 is interning at GIZ, a German company that specializes in international development, while she conducts sustainable energy research in Jakarta, Indonesia. Grishma, who majored in mechanical engineering, previously spent several years working as a renewable energy consultant for an international nonprofit organization in Nepal and India. She says she loved being able to make a difference for people in Nepal's remote communities. In 2014, Grishma was awarded a scholarship for a master’s degree in environmental leadership at the University of Flensburg in nor... read more >>

April 16, 2016

In March, Seattle residents Sanju and Suren Shrestha traveled to Nepal to renew their wedding vows. Suren is founder of 206 Burgers in downtown Seattle, which Sanju manages. He is also founder and CEO of Rain City Burgers in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood and a longtime Bo M. Karlsson Foundation supporter. Sanju and Suren serve as BMKF advisors. They also sponsored a scholarship for Rama Poudel, BMKF's new accountant. During their recent trip, the couple were able to celebrate the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation's 12th anniversary with BMKF scholars and board members in Kathmandu. "It was a hu... read more >>

January 24, 2016

Originally posted at on January 24, 2016 I love when things are so right that they flow effortlessly.  My Bowen Island friend Bev introduced me to her long-time friend Cathy.  Cathy and her husband had lived in Dhaka for a few years and it was they who connected me with a few folks in the microfinance world whilst I was living in Bangladesh for part of 2014.  We have since become fast friends Cathy and I.  We’ve discovered much in common which is just delightful.  My love for Nepal is known far and wide... read more >>

January 11, 2016

Celebrating new, current and graduating BMKF scholars January 2016 —  Bo M. Karlsson Foundation scholars and our volunteer board from Mahilaa Sikshya Nidi, BMKF's Nepal sister organization, gathered earlier this month for a picnic at Balaju Gardens in Kathmandu. Board directors Bimala Manandhar, Om Prakesh, Poonam Karki, and Neema Sherpa '14 joined program manager Sabita Tamang '14 to honor 11 BMKF scholars who graduated in 2015 — and to celebrate 14 new and continuing scholarship recipients. This year's scholar selection process was an international effort. BMKF's U.S.-based education co... read more >>

August 9, 2015

"A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou" -Omar Khayyam Washington State ranks second in the United States in the production of wine after California and wine tasting is very popular in my hometown with many Seattleites hosting parties and fundraisers around it. A wine tasting party is a very enjoyable social occasion anytime but incorporating the fundraising aspect adds a special meaning to the event. As cash is raised for our favorite non-profit, we enjoy getting to know the community that supports its mission. Two years ago Leslie Lippi and Angela Jayo, two great supporters of the Bo M. Ka... read more >>

July 18, 2015

“The earthquake was like a snake “Some villages destroyed. Some not.” Ngima Gyalgen Sherpa The earthquake of April 25, 2015 devastated these four rural villages, including homes, schools, shops and monasteries. Located much closer to the epicenter of the second 7.3 earthquake of May 12, 2015, all structures received further damage and all villagers are homeless. Devastating landslides closed trails, isolated villages and created dangerous conditions. All 300+ villagers are living in tents and the monsoon is upon them. Off the main Everest trail, these villages are easily forgotten by the... read more >>

April 11, 2015

I want to share with you a story about a little girl who I met at the Gig Harbor YMCA yesterday. I do not know her name so will just call her Jenny (which sounds like generous.) Jenny came up to me and gave me two nickels, saying that she would like me to have them. I suggested that she save the money in her piggy bank but she insisted on giving them to me. Her friend who was with her said that she had found the money and gave it to her friend Jenny, and now Jenny wanted to share it with me. At this point, I looked at Jenny's mom, saying how uncomfortable I felt about taking ten cents from the... read more >>

March 9, 2015

While books like Lean In and Girl Boss have helped to renew a positive conversation about feminism in America, movements like Girl Rising, Half the Sky, and the Malala Fund, are pushing the plight of girls in developing countries further to the forefront of the public eye than ever before. To the benefit of millions of girls, the resulting discussion is evolving from viewing the gender gap in education less as yet another social ill for charitable giving to alleviate, and more as a global responsibility to eradicate. Because it is more complicated to change the hearts and minds of those that h... read more >>

March 6, 2015

Looking for a way to make an impact in the coming year? Consider sponsoring a Bo M. Karlsson Foundation scholar. Sponsorships help guarantee funding for BMKF scholars and offer something more. Students say it is profoundly uplifting to know that someone else cares and supports their goals. Donors like Marisa Schoen say the experience is inspirational for them, too. Longtime BMKF donors, Marisa and her husband Darren previously sponsored Sarita Sharma (Class of 2014)--a recent graduate and one of Nepal's first women electronic engineers. This year they chose to sponsor Sarita's sister Babita, a... read more >>