The Team


Helka Mäki, MA, has been part of Social Fabric since its very beginning and has helped form the project from the ground up. She is originally from Finland where she completed her Master of Arts at the University of Helsinki and became a textile handicraft and computer skills teacher. Furthermore, Helka studied dressmaking for two years. At Social Fabric, she manages the integration projects and is responsible for vocational training and the planning and coordination of the production. 


In her studies, Justine Portenier, MA Public Management & Policy, focused on the societal and sustainable aspects of economic sciences. She studied at the University of Basel, the University of Lausanne and the University of Hamburg, where she gained her knowledge of public and NGO management. At Social Fabric, she is responsible for strategy and fundraising as well as external communications.


From the first day at Social Fabric in 2018, Javid Atai has been a dedicated part of the team and is highly resourceful for the production of the Social Fabric products. Before starting his apprenticeship at Social Fabric, Javid had the chance to gain several years of experience as a tailor in Iran. He particularly enjoys sewing elegant women’s dresses. In the first year of his apprenticeship, Javid participated in a talent and startup incubator for refugees and migrants of Capacity Zurich, which he successfully mastered.


Kouassi Amoussou is a tailor from Togo, where he was working in the sewing industry for 8 years. The past 20 years, he has spent here in Switzerland. During this time he worked as a tailor and in gastronomy, in companies such as Feinschliff, Rosi’s Taschen, Ibis Hotel, Imagine Restaurant. He is specialized in sewing clothes for women. He joined Social Fabric through the AOZ-GEP Program in December 2018.


Pablo Reiniger has been working as a tailor for more than 10 years. He currently works at Prada and Salvatore Schito’s couture boutique in Zürich. Pablo is a course instructor at Social Fabric.

Board Members

Dr. Heather Kirk, Founder / COO Center for Sustainable Finance –

Advisory Board Member

Heather Kirk did her PhD in microbiology and was a researcher in her home country, Canada, before coming to Switzerland to take on a research position at ETH. She wanted to increase the impact of her day-to-day work, and so she developed the idea of Social Fabric as a vehicle to bring people together to create new ideas. She is especially interested in innovation and social impact. As its founder, Heather knows Social Fabric inside and out and, therefore, is the perfect person to support the association as chairwoman of the board.

Dr. Dominique Bourqui, BFCC Coaching and Consulting –

Advisory Board Member

Dominique Bourqui is a lawyer and has more than ten years of experience as a consultant and coach with a focus on entrepreneurship and business. She works with her clients and helps them to develop their entrepreneurial spirit and business thinking. Furthermore she provides clarification and enables her clients to plan their professional future and translate plans into action. She shares Social Fabric’s values and energy and sees great potential in the people who lead it.

Megan McGill, Program Manager C&A Foundation –

Executive Board Member

Megan McGill has a strong interest in the circular economy of textiles. She completed her Master of Business Administration at HSG (University of St. Gallen). Currently, she is the program manager for the C&A foundation that manages 5 m dollars yearly. From the beginning, she has believed in the potential of our community and supports Social Fabric with her valuable know-how and expertise in non-profit management and strategy.

Ruth Knipping, Textile and Clothing Technology Engineer –

Executive Board Member

Ruth Knipping has 20 years of experience in the globally operating textile industry. In past positions as a material manager, Ruth placed a strong focus on the sustainable production and procurement of fabrics, always respecting aspects of team-oriented and socially inclusive standards. Ruth appreciates Social Fabric as a place that promotes integration, respect, social justice and a sense of community. She is close to the people that she has met while being engaged at Social Fabric and describes her time here as enriching. With her longstanding and diverse expertise in the textile industry, she is a valuable addition to the Social Fabric Board.

Véronique Riccio-Derksen, Protection Programme Officer  –

Advisory Board Member

Véronique Riccio-Derksen is an expert International Humanitarian Law (Protection) and program management in the humanitarian line of work. She has more than ten years of professional experience with field work in Africa and South East Asia with NGOs, the United Nations and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid which is part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Véronique advocates for the basic human rights of displaced populations.  She has remained passionate and determined about her work, despite witnessing the worst situations of persons trapped in armed conflicts. She is often aston! ished at people’s resilience within the greatest distress. Her experience within the humanitarian field is highly valuable for our board.

Viola Röther, Controller –

Executive Board Member


Viola Röther ist a business administration graduate and has over 15 years of experience in the field of controlling, with diverse finance processes and other projects in the financial sector. She completely agrees with Social Fabric’s values and is amazed by the engagement of the people who are involved in Social Fabric. With her expertise and affinity towards finance, Viola supports the further development of the association.