Patrick K. Wachira, a second year student at Middlebury College, is a student curious about the spaces people move in and keen on promoting systems that allow for and encourage inclusion. Since joining Middlebury, Patrick has volunteered with Community Friends, a mentorship program aimed at fostering meaningful relationships between children and college students in Middlebury. He is currently a Change Maker with the Middlebury Social Entrepreneurship program and is working on formulating a way he can best situate himself to work with refugees through undertaking an independent research study into the experiences of African migrants in Germany. To this end, he is interning with Forest Foundation program in Boston this summer, through which he will gain necessary skills and be acquainted with the inner workings of NGOs.
When I was six, my mother, in search of work, moved to a different part of the country where a completely different language was spoken and unsurprisingly, an entirely different culture practised. Navigating this environment as a child seeded a crescive interest over time in the idea of belonging, especially with regards to identity, which is a key issue when immigrants and refugees are considered. This past fall through one a Community-Connected Learning class, I designed and co-facilitated a project in Gatunguru Secondary School (Kenya), geared towards understanding the role identity plays in systems of inclusion and exclusion. At the moment, I am conducting an independent study through the college’s German department into the lives of African refugees in Germany. This is in order to meaningfully utilize my Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship Grant, through which I hope to work with African refugees in Italy and Germany when I conduct my study abroad.