October 31, 2012
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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