March 15, 2011

The Making of the BMKF Video

Behind the Scenes

Amy Benson
NonFiction Media

Before leaving for Nepal, I carefully studied the biographies of the scholarship recipients in the BMKF newsletters. I wanted to get a sense of who these girls were before I interviewed them on camera. On paper their pictures and stories are inspirational, but in person… these young women are power houses! I mean, they SPARK. BIG TIME!

Eight of the eleven current recipients, as well as Bindu, the foundation’s first graduate, all convened at a Kathmandu college early on a Saturday morning for the big shoot. This was an incredible turn out considering how difficult it is to travel in the country as well as our filming schedule coinciding with exam time. One recipient, Sonali, traveled a whole day by bus to be part of the video. Later I learned it was her first time to the big city of Kathmandu. Wow!

Some of the girls knew one another. Many of them were meeting for the first time. There was a buzz. They all told stories of how they came to be part of the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation. They all beamed when they talked about what they were going to do after they graduated.

“I want to start a kindergarten in my village, but a really good one,” Shanta shared. She is studying to be a teacher and is determined to be a teacher trainer. Having visited quite a few schools in Nepal and seen the poor, poor quality of education, both in the village and in the city, Shanta’s goal could not be more important. And, just from knowing this young woman for one day, I know she is going to be successful. She is going to start that school. She is going change her country inside out, as all these girls are going to do.

“I am going to work for sustainable energy in Nepal,” said Grishma who just completed her engineering degree last month.

Sarita T. who is studying journalism in Kathmandu told me, “I am going to return to my village and give the women there a voice.”

Each of these women blew me away with the clarity of her vision.

Thanks to our volunteers Chimey, Sudeep, Punam, Richa and Rachana the filming all went so smoothly. Interviewing the scholarship recipients was really fun. They were nervous, excited and once they got comfortable had A LOT to say. They all talked about how their mothers were not educated and that their mothers were already mothers by their age. They all talked about how they were the only ones from their village to have a higher education. They all talked about how they could not be going to college without the support of the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation.

For the video, showing these young women’s passion for their fields of study and their determination to succeed will be easy. The challenge in editing this piece will be to get across the context from where these scholarships recipients are coming from. On film, they are so confident, so radiant, so amazing—an audience may not be able to imagine the lives they could be living.

I have visited Nepal now three times. I have been to the village and seen how hard life is for women and I still can’t imagine it. They work hard. I mean, really back breaking hard. They marry very young. They have babies. They work harder, just to survive.

It is difficult to grasp just how harsh women in the developing world have it, but it is an important part of the story.

These Bo M. Karlsson scholarship recipients are moving mountains. They are making a difference in their families, in their communities and in their country, so their daughters…can have it better than themselves.

I am so looking forward to editing this video. We are currently waiting for the translation of the video tapes to be complete. Ya’ll should be seeing it by late spring! I can’t wait!