Why I'm Sponsoring a Daraja Girl (and you should too!)
By Miriam Pineau
As a Canadian visiting Kenya for the first time, I have experienced everything this country has to offer with wide-eyed enthusiasm. I use the word enthusiasm because I have lived in Kenya for one month, and I already feel an attachment so strong that leaving is going to involve heartbreak. The people are kind, welcoming, and sincere. The food is hearty and delicious. I could go on about the joys of being on campus for days. I began a communications internship at Daraja Academy in September, and the family atmosphere on campus is the reason I am so comfortable in Kenya. I now have 115 younger sisters. These sisters are compassionate, intelligent, humble, hard-working and inspiring.
Many of the students thought I was from the United States; they were surprised to learn that I was Canadian. Their main questions have been around what Canadians eat, and how long the flight to Kenya is. I am happy to say that they now all know more about Canadian culture!
Daraja Academy relies on individuals and families to sponsor students’ educations. Sponsoring a Daraja girl for 1 year costs $2,500, with a full 4-year sponsorship costing $10,000. This sponsorship not only ensures that a student is educated and fed, it also provides motivation and support. When a girl is sponsored, she knows that there is someone out in the world who believes in her, and who is willing to invest in her future. To Daraja girls, this is an extraordinarily meaningful commitment.
Sponsors often develop relationships with the Daraja girl they support, and get as much (or more) out of this than the student. I can confirm that Daraja girls inspire me every day with their wisdom, strength and courage. Through e-mail, letters, and campus visits, sponsors can learn more about their students, provide advice, and share news about their lives.
I have started a “Canadian Fundraiser” to fund Silvia’s education, a girl currently in Form 1 (Grade 9). My mission is to show Daraja girls how generous Canadians can be, and to open the lines of communication between Canadians and the girls of Daraja. (Of course, non-Canadians are more than welcome to donate as well!)
A $2500 sponsorship will support a student for a year. This includes:
Room & Board
Nutritional meals and snacks
Healthcare and dental (possibly the first medical care of her life)
School uniform & supplies
A quality secondary education, with a focus on women’s empowerment
Life skills education, including reproductive & sexual health