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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MicroCredit Reunion WV Award 067Susan Cornell, Wilkes

Co-Founder, GH4W

After over 35 years of traveling to developing countries, I believe passionately that their women, with a little support, can transform the lives of their families and communities. 

I grew up in Washington where international people were in and out of our home constantly.  I went to Radcliffe/Harvard with no plans for a career, but I was captured by the women’s movement and the idealism of the 1960s. So I became a co-founder of Up With People, Inc.  I traveled with it as an advance person, writing press releases, organizing home stays, and finally leading groups all over the world – living out of a suitcase for over five years.

Since then, everything I have done publicly has had an international dimension.  Through early involvement in microcredit I met hundreds of women in poor countries who were changing their own lives and those around them, enabled by small loans, the support of their borrowing groups and their own courage and perseverance.  My husband and I traveled to three continents meeting borrowers and managers and wrote a book, The Miracles of Barefoot Capitalism.  I wrote a chapter trying to put myself in the shoes of a mother who has to decide which child to feed that day, whether to sell a daughter or herself into prostitution in order to feed the other children, has to watch a hopeless son join a terrorist group because it will feed him and give him purpose.  Writing the chapter was emotionally wrenching. I imagined such a life,  It was a devastating thought.

Women can change those ugly conditions. On my travels I saw first hand the effectiveness of women’s economic empowerment.  I have gotten to know many programs that work on behalf of women. 

susan wilkes profile AQ1J9723 RwI am one of those 55+ women who have skills, experience, expertise and some assets.  Many of us don’t want to retire with 30 years of golf ahead of us.  We remember battling for our rights in the women’s movement.  Today we can walk beside women in the developing world who are on their own journey to equality and economic freedom.  We can support them and rejoice in their journey. 

We created Global Horizons for Women to give women like us a central resource where they can find great organizations working on these issues, find ways to get involved, read about the issues, travel to meet women transforming their lives, connect with others who are interested.  I think of it as a new women’s movement that is exciting, fulfilling and desperately important for the safety and future of our world.