Claudia Kahindi studies History, Government, Political Theory, Social Theory, and Economics in Wesleyan's rigorous, multidisciplinary College of Social Studies. In addition, she will graduate with a minor in African Studies. Raised in coastal Kenya, where few students make it to decent high schools let alone to university, Claudia has a wide worldview and wisdom well beyond her years. She grapples fearlessly with classroom material and its relationship to her personal experiences; when speaking with Claudia, you can't help but feel the extraordinary momentum of her thoughts and opinions. A recipient of a 2015 Davis Projects for Peace grant, Claudia created a community-based education program for students in grade 4 in her hometown of Kilifi, Kenya. Designed to address a root cause of radicalization amongst idle youth from failing schools, this project required Claudia to be a clever and tenacious community organizer, social entrepreneur, and project leader. With her deep sense of justice and passion for tackling inequality both at home and abroad, Claudia is poised to be a disruptive and transformative force for social change.
I grew up in the Coast province of Kenya, in a small town called Kilifi. I did not think about my potential high school until I was in grade 8. Indeed the thought of tertiary education does not cross the minds of many students from my region, an area plagued with high illiteracy levels and lack of access to opportunity. I became aware of these inequalities from a young age and so at that time I made it a point to speak to my friends about higher education and give motivational talks in schools.
This spirit stayed with me. When I came to Wesleyan University, I applied for the Davis Projects for Peace Grant as a first-year student. With the grant, I executed a successful project in my alma mater, a public primary school in Kilifi, teaching elementary and colloquial English to 109 grade 4 students, while simultaneously mentoring them. Working on my project opened my eyes to the profound need in my society demonstrated by the abject poverty and insecurity. To that end, I plan to start a business that will create shared value by funding the expansion of my project to other schools and addressing unemployment.