Daraja Girls In Action! Community Service Around Kenya
By Diana Grote
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!
Asha (Form 4)
Asha, from Marsabit (northern Kenya), spent her time working in a local dispensary, where she had the chance to gain significant experience in the medical field — her ideal career. She recalled working in the consultant room and “being shown how to give out medicine, getting to know all the medicine’s names… being in that white lab coat, I feel like it’s my dream job, and I have the opportunity to do that!”
Asha’s community service also allowed her to meet several people of influence in her community. She got to sit down with a Ghanaian health worker from the WHO (World Health Organisation), and she describes how “he was so inspiring, we talked about education, we really had a fun time!” In addition, she got to know the county health officials, and learned about scholarship opportunities in medicine for after she finishes Daraja. “They can’t even imagine that I was a high school student,” she laughed. “Some were thinking I am a newly employed nurse!”
Even though she completed over 80 (yes, 80!) hours volunteering at the dispensary, Asha says she wished she could have worked more. Not only was this an incredible experience leading up to her future career in medicine, she was proud to have impacted the community: “The dispensary had few workers. Some people go home without getting help, so me being there, I improve the number of people getting help per day.”
Nancy (Form 2)
Nancy volunteered in a children’s home in Nakuru County, where she assisted with various tasks, including cleaning the home and mentoring the students.
For Nancy, community service was a great opportunity to connect with other high-schoolers, and practice her public speaking skills. She described how she felt most useful “when advising the youth about the importance of education. If everyone gets to know the importance of education, and takes it seriously, that will help the whole community.”
Community service motivated Nancy to return to Daraja and keep studying. “You see most of the children, and they don’t have clothes. You feel that pain in you, that you are wearing good clothes — you have that burden,” she said. “You want to get educated, so that you can go back to the society and help those children.”
Margaret (Form 2)
Margaret completed various community service projects in Laikipia, including assisting an elderly neighbor with household chores and maintenance, cleaning the latrines and washrooms at a clinic, and teaching other students about dental hygiene (which she had learned about at Daraja).
Margaret’s community service really showed her the power of a good deed. She described how thankful everyone she met was, and how “when they heard it was the school making me do that, they were very happy about it!” She truly became a role model in her community, and described how people would tell her the inspiration they felt upon hearing about her actions.
Indeed, for Margaret, this is just the beginning. “I felt like I wished to be someone who is great, or someone who has a lot of wealth to help them, to pay for their needs. I feel like learning a lot so that I can succeed, and get something to help them with,” she said. “Not just helping them right now, but also in the future.”
We’re sure that for Margaret, and for the rest of the Daraja girls, this is the just the beginning of their leadership and action for change in their communities!