Daraja is such a wonderful place for me. This is a place where everyone could wish to be. This school is very awesome and is located in Nanyuki as you head to Doldol.
Twenty-five students sat at their desks, running over presentations in their heads. Each girl had been working on her business plan for weeks, developing her initial ideas into full proposals. As the room slowly filled — with teachers, guests, panel members, local experts, fellow students, and Daraja administration — a nervous silence settled over the room, and the evening began.
Monicah's (Class of 2012) future was destined to be a house cleaner until Daraja paid her $3 bus fare to attend an interview. After completing university, she won a coveted position at ActionAid Kenya due to her activism and feminist viewpoints. She will break down barriers and build bridges in the next 10 years.
During school holidays, every Daraja student completes at least 20 hours of community service in their home communities. It is a chance for Daraja girls to give back, become leaders in their communities, and gain new skills. Three Daraja students shared their recent experiences with community service — and you definitely want to hear about them!
Today, we need to remember that even though there are 43 ethnic communities included as Kenyans, we all belong to one tribe, one community, one nation — KENYA. A nation defined by one flag, one anthem, one presidency, one government, and — above all — one constitution.
The Class of 2021 is arriving on campus, and (after all this waiting), current students are absolutely giddy to meet their new sisters. By the time the first matatus arrive, current students have made up the new students’ beds and are hanging on the fence by the gate, screaming and cheering as the first arrivals hesitantly get out of the cars.
For nearly all of the students, Daraja is the first place they’ve had their very own beds. Unfortunately, our bunk beds are extremely old and falling apart. The metal beds are rickety, unstable, and don’t have rails -- making the top bunks quite scary. The top bunks of the wooden beds have actually collapsed onto girls sleeping on the bottom bunks. Many of the beds no longer stand up on their own, and are wedged between other beds and walls to keep them upright.
Cue the little voice in my head. “What are you doing? Who are you to judge these girls? How can you begin to rank one over another? Even if you take 30, there will be girl #31. Why are you doing this?”
Over the past three weeks, the Daraja admissions team has spent over 45 hours driving over 1,700 kilometers around Kenya, interviewing applicants from 34 of the 47 counties in Kenya. This isn’t accidental — seeking out diversity is at the core of our admissions process. Why are we so focused on diversity?
As we wrap up the final admissions interviews, we reach the most difficult part of the process: deciding which girls will receive joyous calls welcoming them to campus, and which will receive letters of regret. With only 30 available spots, we will be sending over 340 such letters this year. We are devastated for their recipients.