Daraja Academy is a girls’ secondary school located in the Rift Valley, Kenya. As a boarding school, Daraja actively accepts students from every corner of Kenya: 32 tribes and several different religions are currently represented on campus. Students are selected for their exceptional academic ability and leadership potential, and receive comprehensive scholarships to attend the school. All of the Daraja girls were born into abject material poverty, and would be unable to attend high school without Daraja.
The Daraja Times is the official student newspaper. Students are free to write about any topic that inspires them, angers them, or that they wish to offer an opinion on. Some of their articles concern normal campus happenings, but most center on broader topics. Writers are encouraged to challenge themselves and explore ambitious concepts and ideas. Any student is free to contribute to the paper, but the majority of the articles are written by The Daraja Times student club, which meets regularly to discuss ideas, work with mentors, and participate in journalism lessons.
The Daraja girls rarely have access to computers, so the majority of the articles that you see were originally researched, written, and edited by hand. Campus volunteers then type up each article, and send them to staff in California for publication. Volunteers and staff edit these articles very lightly for clarity, but do no major revisions or edits. We follow this policy because we want to ensure that the writers’ ideas are delivered to a wider audience in the exact manner the writer intended. Each piece reflects only the thoughts of the writer at the time, and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of Daraja Academy.
Most of the students of Daraja Academy have little access to technology, and have not travelled outside Kenya. Many students leave their home villages for the first time when they matriculate as freshmen. The purpose of publishing this newspaper online is to share writers’ thoughts, feelings, and perspectives with an audience that extends from the Rift Valley to Nairobi to New York and beyond.