Daraja Academy provides an intense academic curriculum designed to prepare girls for their K.C.S.E. (Kenya certificate of Secondary Education) Examinations. These exams determine whether students qualify for higher education at either a college or university level, and whether they will receive government grants. Daraja’s class schedules includes English, Swahili, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Religion, Agriculture, Business Studies, History & Government, Physical Education, and W.I.S.H. (Women of Integrity, Strength, and Hope – a class unique to Daraja Read More Here). Our goal is for every Daraja girl to receive a score that will enable her to continue on to higher education.
Daraja Academy is located on a scenic 60 acre plot about 15 miles north of Nanyuki. Many of the campus buildings were originally built in 1996 for The Baraka School, until it closed down in 2003 (fun fact: a documentary called The Boys of Baraka was made about this school in 2005, in which you can see our campus!). The Dohertys discovered the campus and rebranded it as Daraja Academy. Today, our campus includes 4 classroom blocks, a science lab, a cafeteria, a library, a basketball court, a soccer field, 3 dormitories, many bandas, a campus store, a handful of administrative buildings, and a farm.
The 4 Pillars
At Daraja, everyone is expected to live by the following community standards:
PILLAR 1: Be accountable for the role you play at Daraja, neither neglecting it, nor abusing it
PILLAR 2: Maintain open communication, speak honestly and listen effectively
PILLAR 3: Embrace differences and treat all with dignity and respect.
PILLAR 4: Every day, leave it better than you found it
The day a new Form 1 (first year) student first arrives on campus, she is placed in an academic family. A Form 2 student becomes her “Big Sister,” a Form 3 student becomes her “Auntie” and a Form 4 student becomes her Shosh, or grandmother. Often, the family will be casually linked to another, creating more aunts and cousins, and sometimes even siblings if the numbers don’t match up. By design, these family groups mix students from many tribes and religions.
These academic families form a student’s first layer of support as she adjusts to a new environment away from her home and family. Her academic family will guide her around campus, offer advice, and guarantee her a friendly table to sit at during every meal. When she graduates to Form 2, she too will become a “mother” and be entrusted with mentoring and providing support to a new student. These relationships are strong, and last long after the girls graduate.
SPORTS: Daraja fields sports teams that compete at district, regional, and national levels. Rugby, basketball, and soccer are the most popular sports on campus.
CLUBS: Girls participate in a variety of student-led clubs, including Media, Peacebuilding, Debate, Grassroots leadership, and Science & Conservation.
STUDENT NEWSPAPER: These girls can write. Daraja’s recently launched student newspaper, Voices of Daraja, has three sections: Features, Opinion, and Creative Writing. All girls are encouraged to participate, and are guided by our on-campus Communications Intern. Their articles (which were originally drafted by hand) are published online.
SPIRITUAL LIFE: We’re proud of our diverse student body and the many religions they represent. Each denomination hosts student-run services on Sunday, as well as weekly spirituals before evening study-hall.
RECREATION: Every Saturday night, the girls lead a night of fun and entertainment. The night starts off with an hour of watching the news, which devolves into an enthusiastic dance party, and ends with a movie. The girls look forward to this all week and often dress up for the big event.
If you’re interested in applying to Daraja Academy, or know a Kenyan girl you believe will qualify, please email [email protected] to get your application started. You can learn more about our student selection process here.