Keshab Thapaliya

In the early 80s I began my journey in the field of education and community development by joining a team at the Ministry of Education in Nepal as a curriculum specialist, where I was exposed to the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. It led me to become interested in CIE’s work, after which I enrolled in its M.Ed program in 1987, and the Ed.D in 1990.


I returned to Nepal in 1995 and worked for Pact developing an income generating program for post-literary adults. As a founding member and director of Education, Curriculum and Training Associates (ECTA), a national NGO established in 1997, I spent the next two decades actively creating educational and economic opportunities for women, children, youth and adults.


ECTA, which means “unity” in Nepali, was a key partner in developing the Women’s’ Empowerment Program (WEP) in Nepal.  David Walker who formerly headed Pact in Nepal worked closely with me and ECTA to develop the program and a series of WEP workbooks.


ECTA designed and developed literacy and post-literacy programs, as well as print materials on health, childcare, nutrition, etc. for both illiterates and neo-literates. With the aid of international donors and the Baha’i organization, ECTA has developed innovative programs to help rural communities set up Community Banks: a saving-led microfinance program solely dependent on the mobilization of internal capital, i.e. the savings of its members.


Since my retirement I have been working as a volunteer with the immigrant community of Bhutanese refugees; a community of ethnic Nepalis that after languishing more than twenty years in refugee camps in Nepal has been resettled in various parts of the United States.


In the course of my professional career I have travelled around the world, mostly between Nepal and the States. This experience has largely shaped my identity as a world citizen. I truly feel and breathe as one with the rest of humankind. 


I now live in Columbus, Ohio with Sabi, my wife of 34 years, and have two sons, Niraj and Riwaj, who were both born while I was a graduate student at CIE. [3-21]




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CIE Graduate