Namaste, <<First Name>>,

Hard to believe it has been 15 years since I started the scholarship fund to honor my late husband's memory. I am grateful that I could transform loss and sorrow into a passionate quest to provide educational scholarships for young women in Nepal.

When I think about the 53 women scholars we've welcomed into the Bo M. Karlsson family since 2004, I am unbelievably proud. Each woman has demonstrated such courage, dedication, and hard work as they pursue their education. It's watching these extraordinary young women achieve their dreams that fuels my love and commitment for what I do.

With International Women's Day 2019 just around the corner, I am reminded even more so of the significance of what our scholars are doing. They are part of a global movement of women claiming their power, exercising their talents, and contributing to a better world. That's something marvelous worth celebrating, don't you think?

Deep gratitude for my family and friends and all other beautiful souls who have helped us stay afloat all these years so that we can continue the good work.

Happy 15th Anniversary BMKF and my warmest thanks to you all!

Sonnia J. Karlsson
BMKF Founder and Executive Director
BMKF scholars pose for a photo with Nepal Board President Bimala Manandhar.
It started with an idea born of grief. One woman, one scholar, and more determination and love than we can imagine. This is how change happens. This is how you begin a movement that can eventually change the world. And change the world she did. For 53 young Nepalese women, the world is a better place because 15 years ago, our founder dreamed big, never doubting for a moment that it could not be done.

This month, we celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation. In the beginning, there was a single scholar and this year we have the third largest group of scholars graduating! In the beginning, there was only Sonnia and now we have full Boards in the U.S. and Nepal. In the beginning, we never could have imagined that our scholars would be studying everything from education and social work to engineering, law, and even journalism!

It’s easy to say something is hard and then do nothing. It’s easy to say that one person cannot start something big and despair that change will never happen. But the truth is, it takes just a single spark of hope and an unrelenting spirit of determination and love to do big things.

We are so very proud of this organization and all that has been accomplished in the last 15 years. But more than that, we are proud of the women we serve. Women who know challenge. Women who are fiercely determined to succeed and change the world. And we invite you to continue to be a part of this with us all.

Shannan Chapman
BMKF Board President (USA)
Our organization is reaching a milestone—15 years!—and celebrating with seven women in line to graduate. The Class of 2019 will have the third largest group of scholars to graduate in a single year (twelve in 2015, nine in 2016).

With this year's group, the number of students who have graduated from universities through the BMKF scholarship program since its inception in 2004 comes to 43, with six more waiting in the wings. Academic degrees include nursing, accounting, engineering, education, public health, journalism, business management, rural development, law, physician, social work and anthropology.

Meet the seven remarkable young women who make up the Class of 2019 and join us in saying congratulations and best wishes for a bright future and career!
Chadani Shrestha (Business)

"On its 15th year I want to firstly congratulate BMKF for achieving what they have till now. I am privileged to be a scholar of BMKF and more than that, I am grateful to be a small part of this remarkable family. Thank you for believing in us, believing in me, believing that we could build our future with the help that you provide.

"I thank the whole team, family, friends, the penny drive gangs, sponsors, and every person associated with the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation. I aspire to be as generous as you are. And have the courage to hold the responsibilities and love that comes with it. And I also want to say that the main thing I have learned being part of BMKF is that compassion is another name for strength.

"I am forever grateful to have met such wonderful people throughout this journey who directly or indirectly have taught me a lot about life, love, and hard work."
Jangmu Sherpa (Nursing)

"I would like to express my gratitude for your financial help for the past three years so that I may obtain my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Words cannot express how grateful I am. I will definitely not take this opportunity for granted and promise to give back to the community with my knowledge and skills.

"I always wish health and long life to all the helping hands of our BMKF family. Looking forward to many more years of prosperity for BMKF. Happy 15th Anniversary!"
Lhamu Sherpa (Education)

"I would like to thank all the board members of the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation and its supporters for helping me complete my bachelor’s degree in education. I especially want to thank Sonnia mam for her support in every aspect of my life.

"I think I am a lucky girl because I was given the biggest opportunity for my studies and in the process, I got to meet the greatest person. I heartily want to thank you so much Sonnia mam, for everything you and BMKF have done for me. Happy Anniversary BMKF!"
Pooja Yadav (Nursing)

"Happy 15th Anniversary BMKF! I want to express my appreciation to Sonnia auntie for your generosity in support of my studies. Your personal commitment was incredibly helpful and allowed us to reach our goal. Thank you for being the friendly and open-minded supporter that you are. Your support has brightened my career and your generosity will forever remain in my heart. I really appreciate you and my sponsors Marisa and Darren Schoen for making me a Nursing graduating student! I'll always remember how you helped and supported me to get this wonderful opportunity.

"I can only hope that someday I'll be in a position to repay you all by making you proud. We are forever in your debt for helping us through tough time. I’m humbled and grateful for your support. We (me and my family members) really appreciate all you have done to help us. Thank you so much Sonnia Auntie ♡ I love u ♡"
Samjhana Thapa (Social Work and Anthropology)

"I am very grateful to have received this scholarship. It is through your grace and that of my sponsor Jackie Garces that a student like me will be able to graduate and be capable to stand on my own feet. Without all of your support towards my education field, room rental, and food, l would not have been able to pay all of these fees. Thank you again for your generosity and support. I promise you that l will work very hard to eventually give something back to others and possibly a scholarship to future students like me. Happy 15th anniversary BMKF!"
Shanta Bhat (Business)

"Namaste from Butwal which is far from Kathmandu and happy anniversary BMKF! I am a physically disabled scholar and studying in BBS 4th year (bachelors business study) of management faculty which has been very difficult and challenging. My dream is to find a job as bank manager after graduation. If I become bank manager I will help and support other disabled and poor people.

"I would like to say thanks to Sonnia didi and the BMKF team for your great help, love, care, co-operation to each other and for allowing me to share my problems and difficulties with you. Without any of that, my full life would have been dark, and I would not have been able to achieve my goals. I will be done with school in May and I’m hoping we will remain connected to each other beyond graduation. I will never forget your great help and love. This kind of help and love even my parents have not given in my life. So, once again I want to heartily thank you Sonnia didi very much for your great help, love and care for me."
Tshering Sherpa (Nursing)

"First of all, I would like to express my gratitude towards the BMKF family for everything and wish them a very happy 15th anniversary. My studies are coming to an end -- three years have passed so fast! Because of the support of our BMKF family and my sponsors Sally and Deryck Wager, I am about to fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. I couldn’t have done it if our BMKF family was not with me every step of the way. So, I will always be grateful and thankful for supporting and guiding me in the right path. I feel myself lucky that I got the chance to be part of this loving family and I will always hope for the same. Currently, I am at Birgunj for my practical course, the last leg of my training before graduation. Thank you so much one more time for the scholarship and I’m including my family in giving thanks to all of you for they always appreciate your support"
In December 2018, Ms. Jenuka Dhodari was awarded a scholarship to study Mass Media and Journalism. Jenuka was officially welcomed into our BMKF family at the annual new year event in Kathmandu where we embrace returning scholars and introduce new scholarship recipients. Presided by our Nepal staff and Board President Bimala Manandhar, this is always a fun and proud event for everyone. Bonds are forged in an atmosphere of love, creativity, and camaraderie.

Many thanks to all our donors for making it possible to raise enough funds to cover Jenuka’s four years of study! Our year-end online fundraiser was a resounding success and we could not have done it without your generous support – THANK YOU!
"My journey has been full of surprises. Sometimes they were worth bearing, while others were hard lessons in life. Since my early childhood, I was raised in an orphanage which was my first step to bright future. I got to share a home with more than 50 brothers and sisters, as well as loving and caring aunties and uncles. It was a golden opportunity for me. As a kid, I never had high aspirations. I never aimed for something that was an academic achievement. I loved dancing, and it was the first thing that taught me to be passionate about learning anything. I never let an opportunity pass me by. I loved trying new things no matter what the results, but they gave me different experiences and tastes of life. My childhood passed with great memories worth recalling.

"Although happiness and success were one side of life, I had problems and difficulties that were another part of my life. Dreaming of my future career was something new for me, and I took time brainstorming about what to do next. In the end, it didn’t take long to convince myself to take journalism as my future career. In grade 11, I took journalism as my major subject. Giving it a continuity, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in it. The more I studied journalism, the more I liked it, and somewhere along the line I got that feeling this job was made for me. Writing gave me the inner satisfaction that I loved.

"Today, I am very passionate about my career path. I love talking and interacting with new people. The curiosity of learning new things and updating myself with news and knowledge has now become part of my hobby. My dream is to become a successful reporter. To go to places and fill people with the knowledge they require. Especially, to places like Nepal were the voices of women need to be uplifted. Every woman who is actively participating and succeeding in their chosen field is a role model for me. Their work and achievements give me a hope that I, too, am capable of bringing change to this nation.

"This opportunity provided by BMKF has opened a new gateway for my future. They will be the reason behind all the success that I will achieve further. This platform has given me a chance to prove to the world my abilities and my strength. My main focus in life is to achieve a sense of success, so that my example can inspire the success of others. I would like to show and prove to the world that journalism, through the voice of women, can bring about a great revolution and change in a country."

– Jenuka Dhodari
BMKF Scholar, Mass Media and Journalism
(Social Work and Anthropology ’19)

All of the women have a story to tell, an inspiration, a motivation for pursuing an education. “Why did you decide to pursue your Bachelor’s in Social Work?” I ask Samjhana. She just finished her second year of studies and is now in her third and final year. Inspired by a friend who is a Social Worker, she learned of the problems in Nepal specific to rape and wanted to help change things. Moreover, through her studies, she has been drawn to the idea of helping vulnerable and helpless children.

Samjhana’s plan is to find an internship when she graduates, hopefully in an orphanage. Once she gains some experience, she will look for a social organization to work for full-time. Her dream job will be to continue to work with the orphans and street children of Nepal, helping them and doing research around the issues that get them there. She wants to develop ways to bring change and eliminate those issues.

Born in Okhaldhunga, northeast Nepal, Samjhana and her family moved to Kathmandu when she was five years old. Her father, mother and younger brother are all proud and supportive of her. When she is not studying, Samjhana is doing an internship at the Seddal New Life Centre, where she works with geriatric patients. She also loves to read and watch movies, and especially likes Harry Potter.

Nepal is an ever-changing place. There are many social issues, and it will take women like Samjhana, inspired by one Social Worker, to continue to make it a better place for all of its people. And one day perhaps, she in turn will inspire another and another…

By: Shannan Chapman
We are so pleased to introduce our new board of directors in Nepal. Besides being an all-women board for the first time since we registered our organization in Nepal a few years ago, two more BMKF graduates have joined the team bringing the number of alumnae serving on the Nepali board to five! Sumita (accounting ’12), Sarita (civil engineering ’14), Lali (nursing ’16), Shanta (education ’11) and Bhim (management ’14) are all now serving on the board alongside president Bimala Manandhar and vice-president Poonam Karki.
"Thank you for continuing your mission of educating women in a challenging place and a dangerous time. As women and members of Sophia Libre Book Club, we support your efforts. Please accept our donation and thank you again for your good work."
We are very grateful to have been selected once again as a recipient of the Sophia Libre Book Club’s annual financial gift. The book club is made up of all women, many of whom are educators, and they meet up once a month to review and discuss their book selections as well as to collect money to promote the welfare of women and girls around the world.

Four years ago, with thoughtful consideration, they decided to focus their endeavors on the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation. Every year since, we have been faithfully receiving their donations in support of our scholarships. Read the complete story on our blog.
Do you belong to a book club or similar group and would like to add extra meaning to your meetings by raising money for a good cause?

Let us know if you are interested in supporting the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation this way and we would be happy to provide your group with information so you can review before deciding if our vision and mission are the right fit. Thank you!
The Bo M. Karlsson Foundation is celebrating its 15th anniversary and I couldn't be prouder of being a part of this great organization. BMKF has a wonderful team of people who have dedicated their heart and soul to provide better education opportunities for the young women of Nepal. And this important work has been going on for 15 years! This shows how enthusiastic everyone in this organization is. Having an opportunity to work with this amazing team has truly been a blessing. Every day I learn new things and every day I am proud to belong to this organization and to work in providing higher education for young women of my own country. Happy 15th Anniversary BMKF!
- Pabita Basnet
BMKF Program Coordinator, Kathmandu
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