My Story: Reflecting on my Journey

My name is Juniour Kandimire, I graduated in May 2020 from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. I am a part of the second cohort of the Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) who started our undergraduate careers in the Fall of 2016. My story began in Triangle, a small town in the southern part of Zimbabwe, about 8 hours away from the capital city, Harare. I was raised by my maternal grandparents after the passing of my father and following the relocation of my mother to Harare. My grandparents were retired teachers who owned a garden where they cultivated vegetables to sell at the local market to make ends meet.

Although I was heavily affected by the passing of my father, I found comfort in my grandparents who did everything to make sure I had a normal childhood. In fact, my grandfather is my inspiration due to his hard work and support for girls’ education- he banned me from his garden so that I could focus on my books.

My grandparents’ support for my education did not stop me from experiencing the seemingly inescapable notion that for girls, education is futile. Nevertheless, I persisted, getting excellent grades in both primary school and high school. When I heard about the AAI, a university education, which seemed completely out of the question, became a possibility.

After graduating, I hope to continue my work and change the narrative of women and education in Zimbabwe.

After going through the rigorous and highly competitive application process, I was finally selected as the 2016 AAI candidate from Zimbabwe. I was selected to study my undergraduate degree in the United States. This achievement solidified my grandparents’ sacrifice and investment in me and helped propel me towards tackling my lifelong goal- to advocate for women and children in Zimbabwe.

During my first year at DePauw, I began “Forgotten Behind Bars,” a research project which focused on incarcerated women and the conditions they face within the prison system. I spent summers in both Zimbabwe and Ghana, visiting prisons and interviewing officials. In my third summer, I interned in Wyoming, working with Native American youths in group homes. After graduating, I hope to continue my work and change the narrative of women and education in Zimbabwe.

In May 2020, I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Religion. In the classroom I enjoyed taking classes covering topics such as gender and society, sociology of family, social theories, and various religions. These courses helped me understand how societies, people, and systems function, advancing my knowledge and ability to make a tangible impact on the demographic groups I aim to support.

In June 2020, I received admission from the Institute in Business and Accounting at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan, where I plan on earning an MBA and continuing my work in advocacy.