Maribel Gonzales (1953-2015) worked for more than 25 years with Development Workshop, and for five years as DW Canada’s executive director. Maribel grew up on the campus of a university in Manila as the daughter of a professor and was involved as a student activist in defending the rights of communities affected by the Tondo urban renewal project in the 1970s. She did her graduate studies at the Kennedy School of Governance at Harvard University in Cambridge Mass. Maribel moved to Canada in 1982 with her husband, Farokh Afshar, a DW founder and a long serving professor at the University of Guelph, until his untimely death from cancer in 2007. Maribel was deeply involved in supporting social agencies in Guelph and the local Filipino community. She made many working missions to Development Workshop’s programs in Angola and managed fundraising and liaison with international donors and supporters. Maribel worked with Project Ploughshares from 2008 until 2013. She quickly took charge of a project in the Caribbean, working with civil society organizations to address the plague of armed violence in their communities. Maribel coordinated the Small Arms Working Group through PeaceBuild, based in Ottawa. She also used her considerable organizational experience and skills to assist the board of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA).
Maribel passed away in April 2015 after a short illness, leaving behind her daughters Zhaleh and Aaliyeh Afshar.