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Board of Directors

Margaret McQuiston

Margaret McQuiston is retired but worked for the Government of Canada in the area of Indigenous community and economic development, public and Indigenous engagement and policy development. She recently retired from the National Energy Board. 

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

Margaret is originally from Toronto, ON and lives in Calgary, AB. 


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 INSPIRE!africa 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. 


Diane Altwasser

Diane has worked and volunteered for a number of years in the non-profit sector in Calgary. Her work has focused 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 social issues. 

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


Jay 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 traveler who has been to Africa a number of times. Jae participated in the INSPIRE!africa Volunteer trip to Rwanda in 2018 and is our Treasurer. 

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. 

Past Board Members

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.Carer to start the Carter Centre UK. She was on the London Committee for 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 (Alix) MacDonald is an educator.  She has worked in both the public and private school systems in Alberta and Ontario for over 30 years.  Currently Alexandra is the Lead Instructor at Bow Valley College in Calgary, working with adult learners, primarily newcomers to Calgary.  Alexandra has been involved in the development and implementation of programs for students and teachers which focus on leadership, experiential learning and diversity throughout her career.

Alexander is a co-founder of INSPIRE!africa and has been instrumental in coordinating the volunteer teaching experience during our trips to Rwanda and providing teaching and learning resources to our Rwanda partners. 

Alexandra is originally from Toronto, ON and now shares her time between Calgary, AB and Fernie, BC.

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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Solace Ministries

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

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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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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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Sponsors and Thank-You's

INSPIRE!africa is truly appreciative of the many who encouraged us to realize 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:

  • Intaglio Marketing and Design for the design of our logo. 

  • Kim McQuiston for the design of our general Gift Card, brochure and other promotional materials.

  • Edwin Lim for the creative design of many fundraiser posters.

  • 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 artwork on the INSPIRE!africa art cards.

  • The Planning Committee, Volunteers and Silent Auction Donors of the INSPIRE!africa annual fundraisers.

  • Melissa Musgrove and Margaret McQuiston for the photographs on our website.

  • Anthony (TJ) Simmons for the design and maintenance of our website.

  • Merrill Genereux for organizing our very popular African Market and her donation of many crafts.  

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