Carr Educational Foundation
Rating: 5 stars 15 15 reviews
San Rafael CA 94901 USA
Daraja Academy in Kenya is a revolutionary school that empowers smart and driven girls to be leaders of change. The student body consists of girls that were at the top of their classes but didn't have the means to continue school. Daraja Academy provides the girls four year high school scholarships to allow them to be architects of their own futures.
The school opened its gates in 2009 and will be celebrating its first graduating class in 2012!
Daraja students are selected from all four corners of Kenya and have excellent academic scores and leadership skills but do not have the financial means to continue their education. Acceptance into Daraja Academy is a positive change for the girls' future.
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Daraja Academy is one of only a few secondary schools in East Africa that actually interviews its prospective students. Where other schools base their student intake solely on the grades, Daraja has a thorough student selection process that emphasizes recruiting leaders. Our innovative educational model melds the traditionally rigorous Kenyan educational standards with innovative teaching practices like project-based learning (PBL), research field trips and community partnerships. A 13:1 student-teacher ratio means that our students enjoy the benefits of personalized instruction. In addition to an effective academic curriculum, the academy has four main focus areas: - Female Empowerment - Community Responsibility - Cross-Cultural Education - Personal and Career Development
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In 2009 I was introduced to Carr's primary project, the Daraja Academy, by my teenage son who wanted to do something for the students at the school. He ended up raising enough money to bring a computer and photography lab to the school and he and I traveled to Kenya in 2010 and 2011 to teach those subjects. In 2010, we brought 16 other high school students and teachers with us (and many of them returned in 2012 to continue the work). Having been involved in non-profits for most of my life as a professional and volunteer, I was astonished at the impact that this school is having on the students, families and surrounding villages. What drew my interest to Daraja was the proposition that, if you teach and empower young women, the impact will be magnified through what then transfers to their families and communities. Nice in theory, right? But what I've seen in my three years' experience with the school is that this is exactly how it's playing out. Here's one small example. The girls are expected to do community service when they return to their homes during term break. Two of them from a small village decided to teach others about HIV/AIDs - based on the lessons they'd had in school (which were from a California curriculum). When they returned to school, they were asked how many people attended the workshop they held in the village church. "All of them," they replied. That's 150 people! Imagine! Other projects have included health education in the village closest to the school. In yet another part of the world often fractured by community differences, the students at Daraja represent 26 tribes and four major religions. Their friendship is the hope for lasting healing in their communities. The young women and teachers that I've met at Daraja are simply amazing - committed, friendly, and the hardest working people I've ever met. And I'll extend that to the many volunteers who have committed time to this program (and whose lives have been changed by it as well). The founders, Jenni and Jason Doherty are remarkable and inspiring people of the highest integrity - I don't think any of us can say enough about what they are achieving with Carr and Daraja. In addition to the magic they've brought to the program, they've gathered a committed and energetic board behind them. I'm proud to be part of the Daraja family (and am looking forward to returning in 2013)!
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