Bold, Strong Women
Leading the Fight for Love and Justice
Across the nation and around the world, women are leading the fight to protect human rights and care for vulnerable communities. California immigration attorney Tiffani Sharp is one of them. She’s been at it since 2001, and she’s unstoppable.

“I started practicing immigration law shortly after September 11, when brown people were being rounded up for ‘Special Registration,’” she recently posted on Facebook. “That was nothing compared to the new policies of this administration. I have 12 appointments on calendar in my Modesto office today. I've never been more pumped up to advocate for the communities I represent!”

And that’s just her day job. She’s also a social entrepreneur.

Read on to learn about Tiffani’s powerful new project in Nepal, as well as BMKF news and events!

“BMKF scholars are strong, bold women who want to make a difference. And they are super fun and hilarious. These are my kind of women!”
An Interview with Immigration Attorney Tiffani Sharp
Empowering women, vulnerable communities in the US and Nepal
Willow Tree Roots, the nonprofit organization US immigration attorney Tiffani Sharp founded and directs, empowers women in developing nations to gain socio-economic independence through entrepreneurship. WTR works with women in Kenya and Peru, and is now launching a new project in Nepal: a startup for women survivors of sex trafficking. BMKF alumna Neema Sherpa ’14 conducted research for the project.

We recently spoke to Tiffani about her work with vulnerable communities in the US and Nepal, the brilliance of BMKF scholars, how to support immigrants, her new project for young women entrepreneurs in Sacramento, and more.

Please visit our blog to read the full interview.  

What is Willow Tree Root’s new project?

”In Nepal, our partner organization, Shakti Samuha, rescues women and children from brothels and the entertainment industry. They’re the first organization in Nepal to be founded and run by trafficking survivors, and they have great insight into what the women go through. We’re working with some of their constituents, trying to help them through the process of rehabilitation. Our project will teach income generating skills, in this case design and tailoring, as well as how to write a business plan, run a business, and become self-sustaining entrepreneurs.”
How did BMKF alumna Neema Sherpa help out?

“We hired Neema to research some of the major vulnerability issues specific to women in Nepal. Every country has many issues, and most are overlapping. In Kenya we’re working with women who have HIV and we’re looking at working with Masai women. In Peru, we work with domestic violence survivors. In Nepal, the human trafficking issue resonated with me, because I work with human trafficking survivors domestically. Neema identified organizations working on this issue, to see who would be a good match. She did a phenomenal job making connections with Shakti Samuha’s executive director, building a relationship, and presenting our model so that they could recognize the possibilities of a partnership with Willow Tree Roots.”

What was your impression of the BMKF scholars?

“WOW! The BMKF scholars are brilliant! I expected them to be a little shy, but they jumped right in. They’re so smart and engaged, and they asked great questions. They are strong, bold women who have their eyes set on what they want to accomplish. That’s huge. And the support they’re giving to one another is really important. They really feel like a team. They’re ready to make a difference in their country, and they’re focusing their education on how they can do that. I was blown away.

Any change that’s going to come in Nepal is going to come from the women and BMKF scholars have the wherewithal to accomplish it.

Any advice for people who are concerned about immigrant rights in the US?

“We all need to support immigrants the way they have been supporting our communities. Thats what the community owes these individuals, because they have been contributing for decades. My advice is to circle around the people who are vulnerable and make it known that anti-immigration policy is not American. Be vocal that you’re not going to stand for it. Provide moral support. The biggest threat to these policies is when the people who are not effected at this time say, ‘We’re not going to tolerate this.’”
BMKF Scholars take new role model to heart
Last month when BMKF scholars were invited to meet for a conversation with lawyer and social entrepreneur Tiffani Sharp, they didn’t know what to expect. It didn’t take long for everyone to figure out they were meeting a special friend and mentor.

“When I learned we’d be meeting a U.S. immigration attorney, my assumption was that she would be very strict. But I was wrong! Tiffani is such an outstanding woman. She’s so kindhearted and loving. She abounds with positive thoughts. She even brought us a gift, which I love -- copies of the U.S. Constitution,” said BMKF scholar Anisha Gautam, a first-year student at Nepal Law Campus.

“Tiffani supports so many vulnerable people, and she inspires others to follow the path of what they want. She’s a lawyer, an entrepreneur, and a mother, but she said that she’s not a busy woman. We asked how is that possible? And she replied amazingly that no one is particularly busy! Time is in our hands and we all have the authority to utilize it.”

BMKF scholars agree: Tiffani’s never give up attitude inspired them. Visit our blog to read more.
New Program Manager Looks Familiar!
BMKF alumna and Nepal program manager Sabita Ghising ’14 (on right) is hard at work finishing her master’s degree. Sabita has done so much to develop scholar programming and support, including securing our Nepal nonprofit status. This month, Sabita will pass the program manager torch to another one of our bright stars, BMKF alumna and board director Neema Sherpa ’14. Thank you for your hard work Sabita! Welcome Neema! We know we’re in good hands.
A Stunning Bride, Environmental Leader
Last fall, alumna Grishma Manandhar graduated from the University of Flensberg, Germany, with a master’s degree in environmental leadership. She recently married her sweetheart in Nepal. We’re delighted to share this dreamy photo of the stunning bride and groom. Congratulations Grishma!
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