Sophie Umazi

During the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya, Sophie was almost killed by three men who mistakenly thought that she was from an "enemy tribe" due to her light skin. So frightened and disgusted by the blind hatred exhibited by these men, Sophie knew she had to open the lines of communication across cultural boundaries and promote understanding.

After being inspired by artist, JR's Inside Out campaign, Sophie launched the I AM KENYAN project. The I AM KENYAN project is a globally backed, Kenyan driven, awareness campaign that uses photography as a platform to promote peace during the upcoming Kenyan elections in 2013. The idea is simple: different people are encouraged to take a photograph of themselves with the tag I AM KENYAN. Photography is a powerful storyteller and when Kenyans, both locally and in the Diaspora, come together to tell of and confirm their identity through this powerful platform, a strong message is sent to the public. It encourages them to see themselves as Kenyans before identifying themselves ethnically. Six months since she launched her campaign, Sophie's organization has had a global outreach of over 4 million, collected over 10,000 pictures globally and conducted 15 local peace marches. With such an overwhelming response to the campaign, it is evident that the world — especially the Kenyan youth — is ready to stand up for peace.


2013Valerie Grant