ORGANIZATION AND FOUNDER HISTORY
Blue Nile Children’s Organization (BNCO) was founded in 2001 by Selamawit Kifle. Ms. Kifle migrated to the states from Ethiopia 20 years ago where she obtained a B.A. in Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics from Seattle Pacific University. After creating and operating Selam Community Enrichment Program (SCEP) in 1998, Selam launched BNCO to provide humanitarian support to those in need in her home country. Since then, Ms. Kifle’s focus has been supporting and increasing BNCO’s impact on orphaned children in Bahir Dar, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In 2000, Selam met Richard Oslund, a Mason and member of St. Mark’s Cathedral. Mr. Oslund worked very hard to help BNCO raise funds and build relationships within the community for further support. Through his work, BNCO received help from different Masonic Lodges, and St. Mark’s Cathedral. When Mr. Oslund passed away on June 18th, 2005, he left BNCO $46,000.00 in his will, as seeding funds for the Medical Center and Education Project. The primary care clinic, the Richard Oslund Memorial Clinic, has been named in his honor.
BNCO’s first project was a sponsorship program. This program is still operating today and has increased to over 70 children. Upon obtaining a non-profit license in Ethiopia, BNCO and the Ethiopian government made an agreement to take on the support of new children each year. Because of the success of the Sponsorship Program, the Ethiopian Government has donated land in Addis Ababa for BNCO’s next project, the Medical Center and Education Program.
The Medical Center and Education Program will consist of building a primary care clinic, to address the basic care needs of the community of Kolfe-Keranio in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Many of the children in BNCO’s Sponsorship Program live in this community, and through our efforts there, BNCO has learned of the communities growing need for health care and education on prevention methods of infectious diseases. In April 2008 basic construction was started on the clinic including fencing, guard towers, and purchasing of building supplies. Please see Mission and Goals, Sponsorship Program, and Medical Center and Education Program for more details on these projects and BNCO’s current objectives.