Kelvin Njue (Class of 2016): Changing lives through education | Aga Khan Academies

Kelvin Njue (Class of 2016): Changing lives through education

“I believe that with education, people have the power to tackle and solve problems that affect their communities,” reflects Kelvin Njue, a graduate from the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa. Upon graduating from the Academy in 2015, Kelvin was unsure if he would be able to pursue higher education, until he received an email about the Ontario Tuition Waiver Programme from his university counsellor at the Academy. Kelvin explains:

“My intention was to go to university straight after high school, but I needed to take a gap year so that I could find the means to attend university.” During his gap year after graduating, he found out about the waiver programme. “I applied as I knew acquiring a university education would change my life and would open up many other opportunities…Without the tuition waiver programme, I was going to struggle attending an institution of higher education…It gave me hope and is something that has allowed me to access quality education.”

During his gap year, Kelvin interned at Diamond Trust Bank in Nairobi, assisting clients with their day-to-day banking needs and providing customers with banking solutions. Kelvin is currently enrolled in the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto, aspiring to complete the Financial Economics (Specialist) programme with a minor in employment relations. Kelvin shares his love for economics: “I have always had an interest in economics and have wanted to study it since high school. I wanted to find a job during my gap year that would allow me to apply concepts in economics. I felt that working in the bank aligned with both my academic and career aspirations.” In his first year of university, Kelvin was enrolled in economics, mathematics and sociology courses, of which sociology has been his favourite: “I am really enjoying looking at social inequality and social institutions and how society functions. It ties into economics really well and how society works in different ways.”

When Kelvin is not studying, he spends his time playing intramural volleyball, playing drums with students from his dormitory and exploring Toronto. For Kelvin, one of the biggest adjustments he had to deal with in his move to Canada was the weather: “I have been away from my family for many years attending school, so that wasn’t as difficult for me. The hardest thing for me was getting adjusted to the weather in Canada.” Kelvin has embraced the cold winters in Canada, learning to ice skate this past winter. Kelvin is hoping to become more involved with extracurricular activities offered by University of Toronto next year: “For next year, I would like to join the Business Board on the University of Toronto governing council board. The opportunity allows members to manage different business activities that take place around the university and I am very interested in this. I also want to explore different sports next year and would like to join intramural teams.”

One of Kelvin’s passions that began to cultivate throughout his time at the Academy is ensuring that all people have access to a quality education: “Because I have had so much support from the Academy and different programs that helped to finance my own academics, I would also like to give this opportunity to other children to get the same quality of education that I have been able to acquire. I want to start up an organisation or programme that can offer financial support or scholarships for students so that they can also attend school and get an education.”

During his time at the Academy, Kelvin was able to visit a slum in Nairobi and worked with students from grades 1 to 6 for a six-week period, partnering with the Aga Khan Foundation to distribute reading materials, books, pencils and bags to students living in the community. Kelvin attributes his passion for wanting to make change in the world to his time at the Academy: “I think the Academy was able to give me self confidence and motivated me in believing that I am an agent of change in making the world a better place and that I should always take every opportunity to make a change, no matter how big or small it is."

By Karina Hussein