Our Beginning

When co-founders Mike and Tricia Karpfen first visited the remote, mountainous villages of the Pa-O ethnic tribes in 2004, they found gracious communities of subsistence farmers living a difficult life without electricity, running water, motorized vehicles or shops of any kind.


ZOOM INTricia Karpfen joins the Pa-O women in Tee Lone village

“We were generously welcomed into homes and offered what little food was on hand. Warm smiles, lots of pantomiming, laughter and singing quickly allowed us to get to know the villagers and learn about their lives. Homes were often filled with visiting neighbors and clusters of children, sharing a sense of community that is often lost in the United States.”

Mike K

ZOOM INMike Karpfen is welcomed to Lone Chin village

“Over a week’s time, we began to see that life for these generous people was also a constant struggle to provide even the most basic essentials for their families – food, clothing, healthcare and education.”

Almost all families in rural Myanmar must borrow money several times a year, just to get by. When their crops sell, they must repay the loans at an interest rate of 10% – EACH MONTH! This traps them in a devastating cycle of poverty, from which escape is difficult and setbacks can be shattering.

Moved by the compassion and struggle of those who have so little, Mike and Tricia founded Shanta Foundation.

‘Shanta’ is a conjunction of Burmese and Hindi words meaning abundance and peace.