‘People need to know who the Windrush generation are’: Teenager dedicates college project to great grandmother who founded Brixton housing project

A 17-year-old student has dedicated her final major college project to her great grandmother who came to London as part of the Windrush generation and helped set up housing services across the capital.

Kaia Gifford, from Sutton, who is currently studying media at Guilford College, has directed and produced We Are Windrush, a short documentary about the lives of the Windrush generation.

The documentary was inspired by Ms Gifford’s great grandmother, Lee Samuel, who came to the UK from Guyana in 1949. 

Joan Kent, Kaia’s grandmother, features in the documentary (Picture: Kaia Gifford)

Ms Samuel worked as a nurse before becoming a founding member of the Carib Housing Association which set up four housing projects across London – now under the Notting Hill Housing Association – including the Lee Samuel House in Nealden Street, Brixton.

Ms Gifford said: “My great grandmother was awarded an MBE for her work.

“Unfortunately I never met her but speaking to my grandmother made me realise how important it is to educate my generation on the incredible legacy of the Windrush Generation.”

Ms Samuel receiving an MBE for her housing projects (Picture: Kaia Gifford)

Ms Gifford said she was shocked by people her own age who had not heard of the Windrush generation.

She said: “The Windrush generation did so much for this country. They massively contributed to the NHS and TfL but people I speak to don’t know anything about it, they don’t know their names, who they are, they think it’s a band.”

The documentary has been filmed across London, with key locations including Brixton market and the Windrush Generation Legacy Association in the Whitgift Centre, Croydon.

Interviews featured in the documentary explore what it was for those who left their home country to come to England and how they were treated.

Ms Gifford said: “I wanted to share the stories of people being separated from their families but also the community that has been created in South London, it has emulated what the Caribbean was like for those people.”

To watch the documentary visit

Pictured top: From left, Lee Samuel receiving an MBE for her work in housing/ Kaia Gifford (Picture: Kaia Gifford)

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