This is the question that is asked in every student interview, in every hiring interview, and the question we ask ourselves every day as we work towards the good of Daraja. Over the past 10 years, I’ve learned from the Daraja girls that an education prepares you for your future and helps you get a good job. It means not being dependent on anyone else. Girls education helps you understand your rights. I agree whole-heartedly when a Daraja girls says, “without an education, I would be stuck.”
To me, girls education means changing the world for the better. I am the first woman in my family to earn a university degree. Learning new things has always been exciting, and as my understanding of the world grew, I realized that an education would open doors for me. What did I do with my education? In my role as a founder of Daraja Academy, I have had the privilege of helping nearly 300 girls gain access to their education. My own education has allowed me to influence a generation of community leaders.
And I am just one educated woman. Imagine the day when every Daraja girl influences just as many girls! It will be a sea of educated women where nothing can turn back that tide.
In high school, when I felt powerless to stop the political mess I witnessed on the news, I asked my teacher in despair, “how do you turn back a tidal wave?” Still today when I witness atrocities happening around me, I ask, “how do I change what is happening around me?” That is when I return to my center and remind myself the answer is simple—educate girls.
Girls grow up to be Women. Girls who are taught they can be powerful, and can use their power for good, will become women who are unstoppable in their pursuit of change.
I look to Monicah, Class of 2012, whose 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.
I look to Jacinta, Class of 2013, a girl with a shy smile and big dreams who discovered her own power in WISH class. Since finishing teaching college, she is back at Daraja teaching and mentoring other Daraja girls. She’s completing the cycle of mentorship and power.
And I look to Lilian, Class of 2015, who throughout high school worked with her community to reduce the number of early marriages and cases of FGM. She is currently a sophomore at university where she studies Peace Education. Imagine what she will be doing in 4 more years—she will be a woman who is unstoppable in her pursuit of change.
That’s why today, I’m thinking about the importance of educating girls. Because educated girls become unstoppable women, and unstoppable women change the world. Happy International Women’s Day!