Our Team


In The Field


ianProgram Director: Ian McGroarty

Ian graduated from the Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business with a B.S. in Economics, a minor in International Business, and a focus in International, Development and Transition Economics. After working in both New York City and Washington DC in development related NGO´s and foundations, he moved to Peru in 2009. Since then Ian has worked in the creation and implementation of community, education and economic development projects as the General Coordinator of Nexos Voluntarios in Urubamba and as an Economic Development Project Coordinator in the District Municipality of Maras. Ian began working for Alma on July 20, 2011. He hires, trains and manages our Project Coordinators and teachers. He is involved in the creation of all of our community projects and he creates all of our curriculum. Ian spends most of his time in the communities where we work and lives with his wife and daughter in Urubamba Peru.


Octavio (2)Project Coordinator: Octavio Quispe Checca 

Octavio is from the town of Huancarara, in Paruro province, Peru. He completed his higher education studies at the Valle Grande Institute in Cañete, Lima, Peru. Following graduation, he worked three years as a classroom teacher for the Pro Rural Schools. Octavio joined the Alma team two years ago, as a classroom teacher for our Colcha Biblioteca project. He now works with our Project Manager Ian, as a Project Coordinator for the Cusco Region.


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Project Coordinator: Raquel Vásquez Hidalgo 

Raquel graduated from the National University of the Peruvian Amazon with a degree in Economics. She worked on the Education Project agreement between the Ministry of Education and the INEI, in the supervision of Educational Institutions at the primary level, for the communities of the Requena and Maquía Rio Puinahua district. She worked in the project of Inclusive Rural Businesses (NRI), where she provided technical assistance in the high and low stream communities of the Trompeteros district. Raquel has joined the Alma team as a Project Coordinator in the Loreto region of Peru.

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Project Coordinator: Kathe Köhler Arteaga 

Katherine graduated from the Autonomous University of Beni with a degree in Tourism. She also studied Environmental Management. Since 2009, she has worked in the Prefecture of Beni and the Municipal Autonomous Government of the Holy Trinity in tourism promotion. In  2013, she became the Director of Tourism for Beni. This role provided her experience managing projects and working with local communities for the development of regional tourism. Katherine joined Alma’s team in late January 2017 as our Project Coordinator for Bolivia.


Project Coordinator: René Sanchéz Velasco 

René graduated from the Universidad Catolica La Paz (Bolivia) with a degree in Systems Engineering and has completed post-graduate courses in education program management. He has worked in Trinidad for a variety of educational organizations in the field of program implementation and measurement. “Coqui” speaks Quechua and has a love for working in indigenous communities. He became our second program coordinator in the jungle region of Bolivia in January of 2018.



Board of Directors


Alan Harman

Alan is the Founder and President of Alma. He is a Director and Portfolio Manager at ScotiaMcLeod where he has managed socially and environmentally responsible portfolios since 1987. Alan started his first charity at the age of 27 and has shown a weakness for founding social purpose organizations since then. He has held senior roles in a variety of civil society initiatives and has sat on several charity boards, most recently Variety Village, Bereaved Families of Ontario and Small Change Fund.


AnatolvonHahnAnatol von Hahn

Anatol von Hahn is the former Group Head, Canadian Banking, at Scotiabank. Anatol was born in Chile and has lived and worked in several Latin American countries. He has held various senior positions in both Canadian and International banking at Scotiabank. Anatol has been involved in several charitable initiatives dating back to his University days and currently sits on the board of Ronald McDonald House and UNICEF.


Sandy_HoustonSandy Houston

Sandy is the President of the Metcalf Foundation, a leading private Toronto-based foundation focused on sustainability, creativity and social justice. Sandy has a background in law and mediation and has worked as a consultant and advisor in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. As a volunteer Sandy has served on numerous boards and committees and was the founding Chair of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.


Rob Djurfeldt

Rob Djurfeldt is the Managing Director, Head of ScotiaMcLeod. Previously, he managed Scotiabank’s brokerage operations in Mexico. He has lived in several South American countries and shares our passion for the welfare of children in those countries. Rob and his sons have visited our projects in Peru in each of the past three years.


Michael_McCarthyMichael  McCarthy

Michael is a senior executive at Flybits. Previously he was the Director of Software Solutions at Hewlett Packard. He has held senior management roles in Fortune 500 software companies for 25 years. In the not-for-profit world, Michael worked for TV Ontario and The Art Gallery of Ontario.




Trevor Townsend

Trevor is a Senior Wealth Advisor at Genuity. After visiting our remote communities in 2013, and witnessing our work, Trevor began fundraising and organizing events for Alma. Trevor is a devoted father to his two children Jason and Megan and enjoys spending time at the cottage in Honey Harbour with his dogs Manhattan and Rio in tow.


Photo - Board - Ana Maria Villaran Ana Maria Villaran

Ana Maria is a real estate consultant and former Director for Retail Investment Products at  Scotiabank. Ana Maria managing all of the Alma partner projects and created the “Alma kids” program. She has two young children and is passionate about providing youth with fair opportunities for quality education, particularly in the poorest areas of her home country.


 Andy Dickison

Andy has been a longtime supporter of Alma and social enterprise in general.  His career at major Canadian Banks focused on building innovative, high performance Fixed Income Trading businesses within Capital Markets.  Andy’s derivatives expertise spans Equity, Foreign Exchange, Credit, and Interest Rate products.  In retirement Andy enjoys cycling, traveling, investing, and philanthropy.



Walter Meekes


Walter Meekes is the founder of the HoPe Holland Peru Foundation. He has lived in Cusco Peru since 1991 doing social development programs. HoPe has built over 150 schools in small remote communities, trained over 500 teachers in bilingual and intercultural education and developed educational material in Quechua (the local indigenous language).


Partners and Donors

In addition to our hundreds of individual donors, the Alma Children’s Education Foundation is grateful to the following organizations for their ongoing support and commitment:


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Toronto Rotary

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We are very grateful for the 50+ volunteers who dedicate their time, energy and skill to our organization. Our impact would not be possible without the talent and passion of our volunteers.

Interested in Volunteering?

We are currently looking for passionate leaders to join our volunteer team. We are seeking team members in the following areas:

  • Translators
    • Fluency in Spanish and English required
  • Website editing
    • WordPress experience required
  • Fundraising & outreach
  • Social media
    • Instagram Manager

If you are interested in any of Alma’s current volunteer opportunities, please email info@almafoundation.ca.