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Who We Are - Board of Directors

  • Margaret McQuiston

    Margaret McQuiston

    Margaret McQuiston’s career has been primarily with the Canadian government addressing First Nation’s issues including the promotion of self-governing structures and community-based development.  She currently works for the National Energy Board in the area of socio-economic assessment, and public and Aboriginal engagement.

    Margaret’s work has given her the opportunity to travel to and work with many Aboriginal communities throughout Canada. She has also traveled extensively throughout the world. Margaret has had the opportunity to see community development projects first hand in El Salvador, Rwanda and Uganda. Margaret also has a passion for the outdoors and loves to ski, hike and bike. 

    Margaret is originally from Toronto, Ontario and lives in Calgary, Alberta.

  • Diane Altwasser

    Diane Altwasser

    Diane has worked and volunteered for a number of years in the non profit sector in Calgary.  Her work has focused on supporting women to achieve social equity and personal well being.

    Her most recent work has been as a funder  associated with a large community fundraising organization. Her work involves evaluating and monitoring programs as well as understanding the social needs of Calgary, the city she has lived in her whole life, and working to find solutions for the most pressing of social issues.

    She is really interested in expanding her knowledge in international development and has supported Inspire Africa since it began. She travelled to Rwanda on the 2012 trip and got a first hand look at the exciting projects that are making a difference in the lives of orphans and widows who are re-building their lives.

  • Jae Cowie

    Jae Cowie

    Jae Cowie is currently retired. His 30 year career in oilfield services and manufacturing spanned 5 countries in Asia, Europe and North America.

    Jae is a passionate traveller who has been to Africa a number of times.

    In addition to INSPIRE!africa, he has been involved in an economic development project with a village in Malawi for the last 8 years through World Renew.

    Jae grew up in Calgary and still calls the city his home.

  • Joy Reneker

    Joy Reneker

    Joy is happily retired after a 30 year career with the City of Calgary primarily focused on Diversity Services.  She became interested in Rwanda many years ago fueled by a longing to see the amazing mountain gorillas, and then as a result of that, took a larger interest in the country over the years. 

    After her first visit to Rwanda in 2012,(to see the gorillas and meet a child she sponsored),she ‘came upon' INSPIRE!africa in Calgary and became involved as a volunteer.  Joy returned to Rwanda with I!a in 2014 to become more immersed in the projects funded by the group. 

    At home, Joy has always been involved in projects/activities that foster community, inclusion and positive change for individuals or groups who can benefit from some advocacy and support. 

Past Board Members

  • Rebecca Tinsely

    Rebecca Tinsely

    Rebecca Tinsley is a journalist and human rights activist who has worked in nine African countries. She founded Waging Peace, a London-based group campaigning on Darfur, and Network for Africa, a charity working with survivors of genocide after the big aid agencies move elsewhere.

    Together with her husband Henry, she was asked by President and Mrs. Carter to start the Carter Centre UK. She was on the London Committee of Human Rights Watch for seven years, and has attended human rights trials in Turkey on their behalf.  Her third novel, When The Stars Fall To Earth (LandMarc) is based on her interviews with the courageous survivors of the genocide in Darfur. 

    Rebecca lives in London, England.

  • Alexandra MacDonald

    Alexandra MacDonald

    Alexandra (Alix) MacDonald is an educator.  She has worked in both the public and private school systems in Alberta and Ontario.  Currently Alexandra is the Lead Instructor, Student Learning in the Centre for Excellence in Foundational Learning at Bow Valley College in Calgary, working with adult learners, primarily newcomers to Calgary, assisting them with the skills and knowledge base necessary as they pursue courses at the College level.  Alexandra has been involved in the development and implementation of programs for students and teachers focusing on leadership, experiential learning and diversity throughout her career.

    She is currently vice president of the SEEDS Connections Foundation, an organization providing educational programs related to leadership, environment, energy and diversity, for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students across Canada.  Taking from her extensive experience in education for over 30 years, Alexandra has been instrumental in providing teaching and learning resources for our partners in Rwanda. 

    Alexandra is originally from Toronto, Ontario and now lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Our Partners

  • Training survivors in specialized trauma counseling so that they can help each other.  Assisting individuals and families rebuild their lives through access to education, health and the means to support themselves.

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  • Helping widows and orphans of the Rwandan Genocide with counseling and income generation programs.

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  • Survivors Fund

    Rebuilding lives of survivors of the Rwandan Genocide.  Holistic programmes are developed and delivered by survivor-led organizations including AVEGA (Association of Widows of the Genocide) and AERG (Student’s Association of Survivors), with technical support from SURF.

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  • Genocide Survivors Students Association

    A University student organization supporting genocide survivors through a helpline and a youth entrepreneurship program.

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  • Aspire Rwanda helps vulnerable but resilient women rebuild their lives in the aftermath of Rwanda’s genocide. Aspire Rwanda trains women in literacy, English, nutrition and cooking, business skills, commercial agriculture, rights and advocacy. The programme equips them with the knowledge, skills, confidence and the support network they need to become self-sufficient and empowered.

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Sponsors and Thank-You’s

  • INSPIRE!africa is truly appreciative of the many who encouraged us to realise this dream and to those who have helped in many ways to make it a reality.

    INSPIRE!africa is also sincerely grateful to the following people and businesses for their generous support:

    • AVASA for our website design and upkeep.
    • Melissa Musgrove and Margaret McQuiston for the photographs on our website.
    • Intaglio Marketing and Design for the design of our logo. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    • Kim McQuiston for the design of our Gift Cards, brochure and other promotional materials.
    • Edwin Lim for his past support of the design and promotion of our yearly fundraiser and to Jun Ren who has enthusiastically stepped into this role in 2016.
    • Teresa de Grosbois and Small Shifts Books and Media for supporting us through the sale of her book The Presents' Presents
    • Cheryl Lee for the design of the fundraiser program and bookmarks.
    • Louise Bennet for her designs and printing of INSPIRE!africa thank you cards.
    • Jenn Ferguson for her valuable help in formatting INSPIRE!africa art cards.
    • Joel Riker-Fox and Forte Sound & Stage Inc for their expertise and sound system at our annual fundraiser.
    • Karen Aasen, Stella Bowers, Graham Diehl, Jamie Lafond and Theresa Simons for their creative and heartfelt artwork on the INSPIRE!africa art cards.
    • Graham Diehl for his insightful and innovative Animal Trilogy art series which he created exclusively for INSPIRE!africa.
    • The Planning Committee, Volunteers and Silent Auction Donors of the INSPIRE!africa annual fundraiser.\
    • Dana Cornea, Craig Rubie and Monica Ha for their strong support and guidance with leadership and accounting expertise.
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