Peggy Killeen was born and raised in South Africa. In 1985, when Peggy was 21, she was an activist in the anti-apartheid movement, building bridges between white and black youth to break down barriers.
When a state of emergency was declared in South Africa, Peggy joined the newly created East Cape News Agency (ECNA) to raise awareness with national and international media on what was happening in the Eastern Cape. One of ECNA’s seed funders was Oxfam Great Britain.
It wasn’t long before a number of the journalists were arrested, remaining in detention without trial for several months.
“At that point, we all went underground into hiding,” said Peggy. She worked with a fellow activist and photojournalist, sending updates and stories to Reuters and other news agencies.
Peggy also became an advocate for communities threatened with forced removal by the apartheid government – some families losing homes they had lived in all their lives. She arranged pro bono legal support, connecting these families with lawyers who would help them.
“Working with development agencies doing advocacy work and bringing people together has always been important to me,” Peggy says. She continued working on the ground for grassroots organizations and eventually did international field work for the UN.
When she moved to Canada, Peggy went into fundraising. “It’s the same work, telling stories and asking for support so that important projects can continue.” Peggy took a special interest in working with donors who were thinking of leaving a legacy gift.
Peggy realized that leaving a gift in her own will would be a powerful way to make a difference.
“When I made my first will, the charity that came immediately to mind was Oxfam Canada. It was a decision about what I value, my roots and about giving back. My gift is about my story…it’s autobiographical. And Oxfam is part of my story. If Oxfam Great Britain hadn’t sponsored the project, I wouldn’t have been recruited by ECNA, and that was the trigger for the work that I ended up doing for the rest of my life.”