No matter where they are, Daraja girls stand up and stand out.
At the beginning of August, Daraja students finished their second terms and headed home for a 4-week break. While not at Daraja, the girls spend time with their friends and family, participate in community service, and study for the next term. Our Communications Intern, Lena, visited Jackie (Form 1) and Asha (Form 2) at the Simama Project in Nanyuki, a children’s home where both girls live when not on campus. She discovered that Daraja girls are amazing both in and outside of the classroom.
What does a day in your life look like?
Asha & Jackie: We usually wake up around 6. We start the day by making our beds and cleaning up our space. Then, we do our duties like cleaning the house, washing dishes, prepping food, and bean sorting. After that, we get ready and either go to Center of Worth for training or go do our community service at the Furaha Foundation. At Furaha, we play with the kids, help wash their clothes, prepare meals, and help them with their schoolwork. In the evenings, we work on our school assignments and tutor our brothers and sisters. We also teach them about what we have been learning in WISH at Daraja. On the weekends, we hang out with friends, play at the river, and watch movies.
Daraja girls are leaders. How are you a leader in your Simama family and in your community?
Jackie: I lead by doing the right thing. I cannot do the wrong thing and then tell my younger brothers and sisters at Simama to do the right thing. I need to lead by example to lead others well. As a leader, I need to be caring and responsible. I also need to be mindful about what I do every day and think about whether or not what I am doing is adding value.
Asha: I think as long as I am following the 4 pillars of Daraja I will be a great leader. Those pillars guide me every day. I strive to be accountable for the role I play both at Simama and in my community. I have to be accountable each and every day. Every day I wake up and make sure all of my brothers and sisters are well. I check in to see how they are doing. I add value to their lives by teaching them about WISH and helping them with their schoolwork. I try to teach them how to be responsible and teach them right from wrong. As Jackie said, I have to be responsible to tell others to be responsible too.
How has your life changed because of Daraja?
Jackie: Since I have joined Daraja I am able to know what is right and what is wrong. Like when we go for community service, I go right to Furaha and come right back. I know what I am supposed to do and understand that people rely on me to do it. If I was not taught about integrity, I might just go hang out with friends in town. WISH taught me to be a woman of integrity, strength, and hope. Now, I do everything with integrity. When I leave Daraja, I think I am going to be more powerful than I already am. Now, I believe in myself. Before I joined Daraja, I had lost hope and saw nothing good about myself. Now, I am empowered, and I want to transform other girls’ lives like me. I am a better person.
Asha: My life at Daraja is a paradise. Daraja has taught me to be accountable for the role I play and to always try to add value. Daraja has taught me to be responsible, and I know that’s a lesson I will keep with me even after I leave school. Integrity, responsibility, and adding value is always ringing in my mind. I will always be looking for a way to teach other young girls this and figure out how to give back to Daraja.
This year is Daraja Academy’s 10th anniversary. It’s been an incredible decade, and girls like Asha and Jackie prove that educating and empowering girls really does impact whole communities. Way to go, girls!