The Daraja Story
It wasn’t fair. An award winning teacher from the Bay Area, Jason Doherty and his wife Jenni, also an educator, were traveling in East Africa when the lack of access to education, particularly for girls, hit him hard. “The unfairness of it was hard for me to digest,” says Doherty. “Vallejo, the Bay Area community I was teaching in, had its share of problems but what we saw in Kenya, man, the access was zero for so, so many girls – virtually ensuring that they had no chance to escape the material poverty they just had the misfortune to be born into. We just couldn’t leave it alone.”
In 2006 through research, discussions with hundreds of Kenyans on the ground, and a little luck the Dohertys’ dream to increase gender equality in Sub-Saharan Africa’s education system became a clear vision.
The Dohertys started with a strong belief that the education of girls living in regions of material poverty would result in girls empowered to uplift their families, communities, and country. They and their Kenyan administrative team had a unique perspective on how to create the ideal school – a combination of rigorous academics, women’s empowerment, and choosing girls with an innate leadership ability. They built the campus and its curriculum around a vision they believed would not only produce well educated young women, but also women prepared to become agents of change in their communities.
A dream came true when Daraja welcomed its first class of 26 students in February of 2009.