Rwanda Action's Board of Trustees

Deborah Clayton Hatfield

Deborah Clayton Hatfield Chair, Board of Trustees

Deborah studied Law at Cambridge University graduating in 1983 and qualified as a solicitor in 1985. She practised as a corporate M&A lawyer in the City until she and her family relocated to New York where they lived for several years. On returning to Sussex, Deborah was a Trustee of Demelza Hospice for 4 years and she is currently Deputy Chair of Governors of a local preparatory school. Deborah has visited Rwanda on a number of occasions and has a keen interest in international development.

Emma Messias

Emma Messias Vice Chair

Emma is a founding trustee of Rwanda Action and has visited Rwanda numerous times. She studied law at Kings College London and has been a criminal defence barrister since 2004. Emma has also worked pro bono for Amnesty International Philippines having been awarded a scholarship for death penalty work there. She has a long held interest in international development and is driven by a desire to promote justice and assist the disadvantaged both in her career and work with Rwanda Action.

Simon Caffyn

Simon Caffyn Trustee

Simon studied Engineering at Cambridge and after graduating in 1983 worked as a Management Consultant based in London. In 1990 he began his career in the motor industry and now runs a family business based in Sussex. He has been a trustee of a number of charitable organisations. Simon has spent time in East Africa and recently visited the team in Rwanda.

William Gelling, OBE

William Gelling, OBE Trustee

Will joined the Foreign Office in 2001 and worked in a variety of postings, including India, Pakistan and Iraq. He was appointed High Commissioner to Rwanda in 2014 and was posted there for four years with his family. He worked to establish the direct air link between the UK and Rwanda, and on expanding British development and business links to Rwanda. He has worked with Rwanda Action’s founder in Rwanda and visited RA's projects. Since then he has kept up his links to Rwanda and to British development assistance overseas.

Tim Haynes

Tim Haynes Trustee

Tim was the Headmaster of Tonbridge School from 2005 to 2018. Prior to being Head of Tonbridge he was Headmaster of Monmouth school for ten years and is now involved in the governance of various schools in the independent and maintained sectors. Tim has visited Rwanda on several occasions.

Clare Linden

Clare Linden Trustee

Clare is a founding Trustee of RA and previous Chair of Trustees. She has been involved in the charitable sector for the past 25 years including seven years campaigning for the rights of cancer patients.

She helped found a charity in London helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds improve their education and sustain employment called Second Chance which now operates as Unlocking Potential.

Emma Ogilvie

Emma Ogilvie Trustee

Emma first learnt about Rwanda Action through her children's prep school. She began to help the charity find sponsors for the children at Baho Neza Mwana and Ngwino Nawe. In 2015 Emma was lucky enough to accompany David to Rwanda with her daughter, Ellie. Emma has since visited Rwanda again - and found both trips were incredibly inspiring and humbling. In 2016 she became a Trustee and is responsible for the Sponsorship Programme.

Emma was formerly a partner in a London based tea-broking firm which involved many trips to the tea estates in East Africa. This kindled her interest in helping the vulnerable people in this region.

Deanne Thomas

Deanne Thomas Trustee

Deanne has been a governor of a local independent preparatory school since 2014, serving on the Finance and General Purposes Committee. In 2012 she started her own business in the retail sector.

Deanne co-ordinates the Rwanda Aid Youth Associates (RAYA) and has visited Rwanda on five occasions. Projects have included organising photographic exhibitions and working with a team teaching bread-making to co-operatives. Deanne supports enterprise and craft in Rwanda and the UK.

Remy Twiringiyimana

Remy Twiringiyimana Trustee

Remy is a PhD Candidate in Science Technology Engineering and Public Policy at University College London and previously studied electrical and electronic engineering at the University of Strathclyde. Prior to starting his PhD, he served as Advisor to the Minister of Education in the Government of Rwanda for five years and before this he was Director of Research and Development in the Ministry of Education. He has also worked as Assistant Lecturer in Electronics and Telecommunications at the former Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, (now the University of Rwanda) and as Board Director for Mulindi Factory Company, Rwanda.

Alison Wright

Alison Wright Trustee

Alison is a farmer in Sussex, with a particular interest in agroecology. She first visited Rwanda in 1999 and became involved in establishing community tree nurseries there. With a desire to work more effectively in Rwanda, she studied for an MSc in Sustainable Agriculture. Later she helped set up farming training programmes in Rwanda, to enable smallholder farmers to increase food production in a sustainable manner. She has visited Rwanda nearly every year since then to support these programmes. In 2008 she became a UK Manager, working with the Rwandan staff on farming training and tree nurseries as well as helping on the other projects. She has been a Trustee since 2014.

Formerly Rwanda Aid, we are a charity that is empowering communities to reduce poverty in Rwanda

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