Daraja changes lives. It transforms eager girls into proud, intelligent, inspirational, true Women of Integrity, Strength and Hope. I am forever grateful to Daraja, the girls, staff, other volunteers and all of those that work on campus for changing my life. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about my time at Daraja. The feeling that overcomes me when I arrive on campus is nothing like I have ever experienced other than at Daraja. It is an overwhelming sense of peace, belonging, love and hope. It's home.
I just spent about a month and a half this summer at Daraja and I can confidently say that no other time in my life has impacted me in such a way. I knew going into my time there that the girls attending Daraja would blow me away but I couldn't have anticipated that knowing them would change my life. Daraja Academy is an incredible place and they are creating truly life-changing and nation-changing work by educating the young women of Kenya that would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to school. I stand along side them in saying that I believe that educating women of Kenya, Africa, and all developing nations is the key to lifting up their countries. Also, not only are the students getting a top-notch education but they are SMART. I couldn't believe how intelligent each girl I talked to was, they will truly change the face of Kenya in whatever they do. I fell in love with the people and the place of Daraja and the surrounding area. Everyone living there is so kind and welcoming and it always felt safe. More than anything, the girls there are just astounding in who they are. It's hard to put into words how beautiful each one of them is because I think to understand how great they are, you have to meet them. You just can't wrap them up into words. Meeting them and creating the wonderful life-long friendships with them has shaped my heart and leaves me wanting to go back and see them as soon as possible! I absolutely loved my time at Daraja and would highly recommend volunteering there to anybody who desires to be apart of and lend a hand to something bigger than themselves and be crazily inspired at the same time.
I knew from the moment I arrived on campus that I would take more from my experience with the girls at Daraja than I could ever give. The students, and everyone else on campus, are the warmest, most inviting and inspiring people I've ever met. Sometimes they're silly, rambunctious teenagers, then the next moment one of them will say something you'd never imagine coming from someone so young. They are spirited, passionate and intelligent. As for the work I did - the communications internship - there was never a dull moment! But now, almost a year since I left campus, my position at Daraja is the job that prospective employers ask the most questions about - everything else looks like potatoes in comparison. I am blessed to have spent the time there that I did. And like everyone else whose life has been affected by this magnificent place, I long to go back.
There can be nothing more essential than the education of the young, let alone girls in Africa. Djaria helps girls to go on to change their own destiny and those around them. Daraja is an inspirational project. I hope it thrives and spreads.
Daraja Academy is one of those rare institutions that is truly changing the world. In addition to the profound impact that it has on each individual girl, Daraja has a far reaching positive effect on the entire community. Numerous studies show that while the economic benefits of educating girls are similar to the economic benefits of educating boys, the social benefits from investing in female education are far greater. Increases in women’s education lead to improvements in children’s health, nutrition and education. Daraja Academy provides an innovative and effective approach to educating young women and I know that every dollar I give makes a tremendous difference for the entire community. Investing in women’s education is the right thing to do and Daraja does it amazingly well.
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)!
Daraja not only changes the lives of Kenya girls, but for the past 4 years - it has significantly changed mine and every volunteer involved. I traveled to Daraja over a year ago for the first time (wont be my last) and met these outstanding girls. Their stories, determination, drive and love will fill your heart - they are true leaders of the future. Girls' education is trans-formative! Daraja understand that if we invest in girls' education - it will change the course of history. Daraja empowers these young leaders of change, provides them with a well-rounded and introduces them to opportunities they would otherwise never have. Daraja means Bridge and We are Daraja!
I have spent 4 summers at Daraja Academy and each year I am amazed by the girls and staff at the school. The experience one has at Daraja is life changing. The staff will treat you like family and welcome you in every way. The girls absolutely love having volunteers. It is a great cultural and education exchange. The Daraja girls are incredible inspiring and strive to better their lives as well as their family and community. Daraja is very safe and the community surrounding it is very welcoming to volunteers. I would definitely recommend a potential volunteer to apply!
I was fortunate to spend over a year volunteering at Daraja, working with an amazing community of young women who travel there from across the country. Daraja is more than a high school, it is a an exercise in leadership; it is a community that bridges the diversity of Kenya and global populations. These young women are being offered an amazing educational experience that is both progressive and adheres to the Kenyan standards. This is a school that permits its female students a voice, and encourages them to not only develop academically and in line with 21st century skills, but also mentally: Creativity, confidence, self-expression, and self-directed learning are celebrated. This is an environment that fosters future leaders of Kenya.
The Daraja Academy of Kenya, started by the Carr Educational Foundation, is a magical place. It is filled with 104 passionate, determined, and bright girls who truly believe in themselves. It is run by two focused, hard-working people and the teachers are excited to help the girls achieve their goals. The effect of Daraja is viral. It spreads like wildfire within families and communities. The Carr Educational Foundation is doing amazing things that will change Kenya and the world.