Dhaka Story: Founders

Rita Thapa and Susanne Jalbert became friends in 1987…

and the rest of their story is history.


Rita Thapa – Dhaka Weaves

Rita Thapa is one of the original founders of Dhaka Weaves and is widely recognized for her groundbreaking work in social entrepreneurship.   She has over twenty-five years experience as a feminist educator and community activist, initiating and supporting institutions for women’s empowerment and for peace in Nepal and Asia as well as internationally.  She is currently involved  with Nagarik Aawaz (www.nagarikaawaz.org.np/), an initiative for conflict transformation and  peace-building in Nepal, and Dhaka Weaves.  In recognition of this exceptional   ”innovative contribution to the public good”, Rita has received the rare honor of being named an Ashoka Fellow.  She is known and appreciated around the world as an inspiring teacher/resource person on feminist leadership and development and has extensive experience in building links among community, non-governmental, governmental, and academic institutions.  She has served on the International Committee of the Regional Center for Strategic Studies,  based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, is a past Board Member and Chair of the Global Fund  for Women (www.globalfundforwomen.org/), was an International Board member of the Urgent Action Fund based in Boulder, CO and currently co-ordinates a national women’s network for peace.  In 2005, she was included in the 1000 Women for Peace nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, and was the University of Toronto, OISE, Dame Nita Barrow Distinguished Visitor (2002-2003).

For the complete story on the founding of Tewa ( www.tewa.org.np), please click on the founder’s story on the publications page.

Susanne E. Jalbert, Ph.D. – Dhaka Weaves/Tewa USA –

Susanne Jalbert supports Dhaka Weaves/Tewa USA.  On August 2010, Jalbert was selected as one of St. Mary’s College of California’s 40 Influential Women.  As an economic activist for 25 years, Susanne E. Jalbert, Ph.D., (www.jalbertconsulting.com) has focused on international business development strategy and policy, financial and corporate governance, global network expansion and enhanced social responsibility.  Her over-arching goal is investing resources equitably in both social and business change through economic empowerment.  She contributes to USAID-sponsored private sector development projects and has assisted more than 30 international contractors on 87 assignments in 45 countries.  Jalbert is recognized as architect and champion of the Iraqi Small Business Development Centers program (www.sbdc-iraq.com) and has influenced non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and women’s business association capacity building worldwide.

Dr. Jalbert publishes and speaks frequently on the role of business associations, women entrepreneurs, STOP! trafficking of women and children campaigns, and entrepreneurial expansion programs.