VIDEO

Nepal - The Story of TEWA
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TEWA is the preeminent women’s non-governmental
organization in Nepal. It raises funds inside Nepal and elsewhere to support
national and grassroots women’s empowerment programs that fight effectively for
economic opportunity, social justice, peace and gender equality.
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susan plimptonSusan Plimpton

 Co-Founder, GH4W

My interest in "things international" developed in college as a result of spending a summer abroad living with a Swedish family through The Experiment in International Living program.  Upon graduating from Wellesley College, I was determined to work for an international nonprofit organization ideally focused on development or conflict resolution.  With few skills and modest foreign language ability, that was not to be and I landed instead with Pan American Airways in San Francisco.  Although not meeting my desire for social impact, it did provide opportunities for extensive international exposure and deepened my commitment to work for an international nonprofit. A new International Career Training Program developed by The Experiment in International Living for college graduates seeking appropriate skills and experience presented itself and I was off to Tanzania to intern with the African American Institute and to live with a Tanzanian family.  This was my first real exposure to poverty and how hard the women in a family worked simply to feed and manage her family.  I also realized how important education was to a path out of poverty.  

I returned to the U.S. to work for The Institute of International Education for three years before deciding that business management education would be helpful.  I entered the second class at Harvard Business School to accept women in any number (5% of the class).  Upon completion I determined experience with an American business would be useful and took a position with General Mills in Minneapolis.  The opportunity to be part of the early ranks of women business leaders was mesmerizing and I continued to work as a marketing executive for consumer food and financial services companies for the next 25 years while also raising a family.  During this period, we encouraged our children to study abroad and as a family we pursued in depth cross-cultural experiences.

When I retired in 2000, I re-entered the international education and development arena joining and leading the boards of World Learning (parent organization to The Experiment in International Living) and the Minnesota International Center.  The Freedom from Hunger and Shared Interest boards have enabled me to support the advantages of micro lending and training to women in the developing world and traveling with Susan Wilkes has provided the chance to see these advantages on the ground.  Finally, I am involved with a small nonprofit providing educational and social support to children of HIV positive mothers in a slum area of Nairobi.  It gives me yet another window on how important education is and how grateful these mothers are for a helping hand.