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NEWS FROM DARAJA: NOVEMBER 2016 In Swahili, Daraja means ‘bridge.’ For Daraja girls, the academy is the bridge out of the cycle of poverty and the limitations of an eighth grade education. Daraja provides the bridge to higher education, and the ability for its graduates to become leaders and agents of change within their communities. We aim to help young women realize their rights and find their power and agency in society. There is a huge need for Daraja: 100% of Daraja girls could not have attended secondary education without the comprehensive scholarships provided by Daraja Academy. Unfortunately, this means that we are forced to deny 9 out of every 10 girls who apply because of a lack of resources. Our hope for the future is that we are able to build and expand this bridge so that more girls can cross it.

Daraja has been a bridge for 228 girls since it was founded in 2009

25 of the 26 girls in our 2015 class qualified for higher education

Daraja girls who are working and attending college earn approximately 33% more than the average national salary.

Out of 57 Daraja responders, 18 currently hold leadership positions - about 1/3 of each graduating class!

“I have come to realise that powerful people come from humble ground and because they have undergone many challenges and have been able to overcome them, they have all it takes to overcome any challenge in the world.” – Rebecca, Class of 2015

DARAJA EDUCATION FUND P.O. Box 4333, San Rafael, CA 94913 (415) 456-8055 | info@daraja-academy.org | www.daraja-academy.org

We won the ‘Light My Fire’ Award! September was a great month for recognition of Daraja’s efforts! In addition to the KTV news piece, we also received the “Light My Fire Award” from the Light My Fire Fund, a non-profit that ignites the lives of women and girls in the developing world.

(A KTN journalist reporting from Daraja)

Daraja in the News! Our campus was featured on the Kenya Television Network News this September. The reporter described Daraja Academy as existing “to give hope” to girls who would otherwise be unable to afford secondary school.

For 2 years, the Light My Fire Fund contributed to Daraja Academy’s Transition Program, a five-month curriculum designed to further build the girls’ skillsets and leadership abilities before they start college. The grant supported the girls in the program with internships at NGOs and other local organizations. We were so excited to partner with Light My Fire in this endeavor, and even more excited to receive their award recognizing that we are running a project that exemplifies transformative leadership.

School Principal Victoria Gichuhi gave a poignant interview. She emphasized the mission of Daraja Academy, describing that “we are driven to produce a girl who is community-minded, a girl who is ready for college, and a girl who is ready for a career.” She also gave a heartfelt description of the tragedy of running the admissions process: “Every time we went out for student selection the need was so big. You say no to so many, and you have to constantly remember the girls you met and sat with in an interview, but you did not take them.” It was the tragedy of turning so many girls away that inspired the school to start squeezing in 30 girls to every class, rather than the 26 that had made up the numbers in the early years of Daraja. It’s a tight fit now on campus, but we are determined to give as many girls an education as we can. KTN News and its viewers resonate with our school’s mission and ideals. We’re grateful to have Daraja Academy’s success in empowering young women through leadership and community service be recognized by the Kenyan press.

(Faustine, Class of 2015, catching a rainbow)

“I am a leader who loves listening carefully and loves wisdom. I treat people fairly because I believe we are all equal. I like mobilizing people so that we can bring together great and creative minds with the aim of improving our daily situations. Discipline, love, and gratitude are my principles. I believe in myself.” - Mary Wangui, Class of 2017

DARAJA EDUCATION FUND P.O. Box 4333, San Rafael, CA 94913 (415) 456-8055 | info@daraja-academy.org | www.daraja-academy.org

How do Daraja girls pay for their schooling? Community service! At Daraja, our donors provide comprehensive scholarships to every student who gains admission. However, the girls do contribute to their schooling in a very special way – through community service! Each year, each girl is required to donate at least 30 hours of her time to her community. We ask this of the girls so that they experience the importance of giving back and acting as agents of change. Over time, the Daraja girls are createing a sisterhood of leadership amongst themselves and their communities. (‘Agents of change’ at work) “This term was very busy and I enjoyed school very much. The activities cheered me up and I started viewing myself as a unique and important person in the community.” - Mercy Wanja

Student spotlight: Meet Joan – one of our 13 girls in need of a Sponsor! Joan is a Form 1 student who was born in a small town in the far north of Kenya called Loiyangalani. Her parents are nomadic pastoralists who “were always moving from one place to another looking for green pastures for our animals.” Joan’s family had no money for her to pursue secondary education, despite her many pleas to her mother. Although painfully aware of these barriers, Joan was still desperate to go to school through any means possible. Joan says she was incredibly happy when she gained acceptance to Daraja. Joan describes the student body at Daraja as “a family.” She is very excited because “the school has introduced a WISH class.” Our WISH (Women of Integrity, Strength, and Hope) program is designed to help girls realize their full potential as leaders and agents of change within their communities. Joan loves the WISH class because “I felt happy because we learn about the qualities of leadership.” We expect great things from Joan in the future! Unfortunately, Joan is one of our 13 students who doesn’t have a sponsor. It costs $2500 a year to subsidize a girl’s tuition, healthcare, and room & board. As a sponsor, you will receive personalized letters three times a year from the girl you sponsor, as well as the satisfaction that you’re making an incredible difference in her life. If you or anyone you know would like to commit to being Joan’s sponsor (or any of the other 12 students’), please get in touch with us as soon as possible!

DARAJA EDUCATION FUND P.O. Box 4333, San Rafael, CA 94913 (415) 456-8055 | info@daraja-academy.org | www.daraja-academy.org

Profile for Daraja Academy

The Daraja Gazeti: Winter 2016  

All the news from campus, circa December 2016.

The Daraja Gazeti: Winter 2016  

All the news from campus, circa December 2016.