Glass ceiling breaker from Mombasa
By Marci Pereira
I was truly overawed researching into the accomplishments of this outstanding and multi-talented former Mombasa student, Claire Soares. As a fellow Mechanical Engineer myself, when I compare her formidable achievements, I pale into insignificance. She is, I think, the first and only woman engineer from the Mombasa Goan School. In fact, she is only the second Goan female engineer, I have come across. The other is a Chemical Engineer in Australia.
During my time in Mombasa, one did not associate engineering or anything technical, with girls. Higher education opportunities hardly existed in Mombasa is it for boys, or girls, at that time. When I finished in 1958, ‘Teachers Training’ was the only tertiary education college available in Mombasa then. When it came to occupational opportunities, for boys, it was mainly Teaching, Customs, Railways & Harbours or African Marine. For girls: Teaching, Secretarial or Administration. It followed, that many of those with ambitions, had to travel abroad mostly, to avail of a wide range of career choice opportunities. Then there were scarcely any careers advisors.
Claire is a global authority on ‘Turbine Technology’ with eight books to her credit, and another in the pipeline. That is just one reason I have been overawed in this instance.
Engineering is only one half of her awe-inspiring achievements. She has three Masters Degrees:
(a) Business Administration (b) Film & TV (c) Fine Arts [Creative Writing]. She also has a PhD “in progress” at the University of Texas. She is an acknowledged Film Director in the USA too.
Claire is the daughter of Mrs May Soares, my English teacher, at the Mombasa Goan School in 1958. Mrs Soares helped hone my interest in writing and reading. I have vivid memories of Claire, who as a little girl, used to come round to meet up with her mum, at the end of our English class. She struck me as being precocious, then. I was always curious to want to know, whatever happened to mother and child, since I left school in 1958.
As with her Engineering accomplishments, Claire has an equally impressive history in Film production. She features in the “Tiburon International Film Festival (TIFF)” Library and is a Member of the organisation: “Alliance of Women Directors (AWD)” in the USA. TIFF is an annual event held in California, USA, which seeks to provide a greater understanding of the world and its many cultures through the artistic medium of film, and through the top quality films from around the world. Its motto: “Understanding the World through Films”.
Below is the biography extracted from the Tiburon International Film Festival website on Claire Soares.
Claire Soares is a filmmaker, author and engineer. Much of her work involves technology, ecology (including wild life conservation) & environment sustainability. A Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Claire is a registered Professional Engineer and has authored six books. These books are the basis for some of her film work on sustainability of global resources. Her films FINDING FOREST FOR THE TREES and FIJI FANTASY were finalists in the SCINE and Tribute to Jacques Cousteau film festivals in 2010.
Claire wrote, produced and directed CONSEQUENCES (aka PACKMULE) a narrative short on rain forest destruction, created for the 168 Film Festival (chief judge Ralph Winter) in Los Angeles, that received the Best Screenplay award in the Gold Category. Besides her technical background, Claire holds two Masters degrees (one an MA in Film and Television, and the other an MBA in International Business).
Claire has lived and worked on four continents. That and an upbringing in classical music and art fostered Claire's interest in sustainability issues. She has studied ancient art forms like classical East Indian dance that promotes harmony between deities, humankind and nature.
A long apprenticeship in all facets of television production led to her first ten hours of television production with a regional television station in Dallas. That preceded her four Telly awards, two of which were on classical East Indian dance (Bharata Natyam). That work, combined with her interests in other historical dance forms, such as Middle Eastern dance, Spanish flamenco and early ballet in the French royal court (that developed classical choreography during the reign of Louis XIV), led to Dance the Gypsy.