Rita Thapa

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Rita Thapa "was born in Kathmandu on January 18, 1952, into a very traditional and conservative family. Since her father was in the military, the family traveled a great deal, and Rita was able to see a Nepal that was completely outside of her usual milieu; it was a perspective that took hold of her even as a child. In keeping with tradition, Rita was forced to marry at the age of eighteen, and were it not for her tenacity and commitment to finishing her Bachelor's degree, would have had to forsake her higher education altogether. Her education and her desire to work for the improvement of society created such conflict that she eventually broke ties with her family in order to be able to carry on her work.

"Rita then proceeded to get involved with several women's groups and found her own organizations. She launched one of the first department stores in Nepal and founded a women's group that evolved into a network of development organizations. Over the years she has experienced both sides of the donor world in having sought funds for organizations with which she has been involved and in having worked for organizations such as Oxfam, UNIFEM, UNDP, GTZ and the Canadian Cooperation Office. In 1995, Rita spoke on a panel at the NGO Forum in Beijing entitled "Funding our Future," and it was during the preparation for that engagement that she began to understand the development challenges facing her country. She declined a scholarship to study in New Zealand and left her job at UNIFEM in order to devote herself full time, and on a voluntary basis, to developing Tewa and its goals on a much broader scale."

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  1. Directors, Urgent Action Fund, accessed August 17, 2007.