Daraja is all about community. Daraja girls undertake 30 hours of community service a year, and are leading examples of girls who have become empowered through education. Volunteering at Daraja will introduce you to a network of non-profits serving the local community. Here are four of our favorites:
(A look into the Daraja neighborhood)
1. Twala Cultural Manyatta and Women’s Group (In partnership with the African Conservation Committee)
Twala women’s group began with 10 Maasai women who wanted to take ownership of their land and find their voices in the community. The women were initially granted an overworked 20 hectares of land by their husbands, and began projects which allowed them to be in control of their own income, turning it into a source of sustainable agriculture and income.
Their success led to the expansion of the Manyatta to 40 hectares of land, and nationwide recognition and partnership. Here is an example of their beautiful beadwork:
Some of their projects include:
- Aloe farming, which is sold to Lush cosmetics, cattle rearing, bee keeping, opuntia cultivation.
- Beautiful beaded jewellery of which 10% of profits from sales are reinvested in girls’ secondary education
- Traditional Maasai dances and songs, Baboon Tours, guided nature walks
From feeling underappreciated and silenced in their community, the women of Twala are involved in decisions of their tribe, participate during tribal meetings and are consulted for advice on finance and agriculture.
2. Hope and Home Orphanage
Located on the outskirts of Nanyuki town, Hope and Home is a Kenyan Charity that provides shelter to over 200 children from 3-18 years old. The compound has a school room where 4 teachers work together to deliver a basic primary education, as they strive to not only get these children off the streets but also get their education back on track.
The facilities are extremely basic, most kids sleep 2 or 3 to a bed in conditions that leave them vulnerable to bad weather. Only the girls have toilets: the development and maintenance of the dorms and facilities are completely dependent on ad hoc donations.
Despite these challenges, the staff at Hope and Home are loving, resourceful, and unrelentingly hopeful. They are currently developing their farming capabilities to meet their children’s nutritional needs, and provide earned income to purchase clothes, hygiene products and school supplies. Additionally, the current volunteer group at Daraja from St. Mary’s College, California are building a website for Hope and Home, to raise awareness for this cause and build up a donor base… watch this space!
3. The Simama Project
The founder of the Simama Project, Matt Orcutt, volunteered at Daraja in 2010. After a few months, he became friends with a boy named Alfred and supported him to return to school.
In 2011, the Simama Project was founded, with its unique “whole child” model of community outreach and prevention, social rehabilitation, academic empowerment, and life skills and leadership training.
The Simama Project recognises that the children that they support not only require school fees, but a warm and loving environment to live in, meals, psycho-social support and counselling, healthcare and life skills training. It is this all-encompassing approach of support and care and the creation of opportunities that makes the Simama Project (a community based organisation) truly successful and special.
4. Nanyuki Youth Hub
With the help of Global Platform, which is located a few hundred metres from Daraja’s campus, Mt. Kenya Youth Hub was founded in July 2015.
They have a talented and dedicated team who are passionate about youth empowerment, finding innovative ways to provide opportunities for young people to express their voice for action and social change. Their compound in Nanyuki town is a safe space for local youth to study, apply for jobs and further education, brainstorm ideas, and hold events.
For young people who are stuck in limbo whilst searching for sponsors, applying for bursaries or working casual jobs to get school fees, the Youth Hub ensures that they stay off the streets and stay focused on their goals.
Check out there website here.