Every day at 5:30, the girls change from their blue and grey uniforms into t-shirts and sports pants. Within minutes, 118 girls are running uphill around the edge of campus. Running at an elevation of 6,000 feet (2,000 meters) is no easy task, but the Daraja girls are up for the challenge. They’re training for Bay to Breakers, and the difficulty is worth it.
This year, for the eighth year in a row, runners in both Kenya and California will take up the task of running twelve kilometers to support girls’ education, fundraising for Daraja Academy. Each runner in California is paired with a Daraja student in Kenya, fundraising for her.
Purity (Form 3) is excited about the solidarity involved in Bay to Breakers, describing how she loves “to run with others, being in unity.” When race day arrives, and everyone is struggling as the kilometers add up, they’ll know that they’re not running alone — they’ve got a running partner halfway around the globe.
For Sabdio, a Form 4 student at Daraja, the pain of running has more meaning than you might think. “When I run,” she says. “The pain that I usually feel is the pain that someone feels when she is looking for money for her school.”
It’s not a small pain, either. In Marsabit County, the region of Kenya where Sabdio is from, only 6% of people even make it to high school, much less finish. Over 60% of people in Marsabit have never attended school at all. Against these numbers, the pain of running twelve kilometers comes into perspective.
Running to fundraise for a school halfway across the world can seem like an impossible task, but the same can be said for running twelve kilometers — one step isn’t very far, but they add up quickly. At Daraja, a breakfast for one girl costs about ten US cents. A school uniform shirt costs about five US dollars. Sanitary towels for one girl for a year cost about thirteen US dollars. Individually, these items seem small, almost insignificant. Yet, a lack of food, uniform, or sanitary products can easily mean the end of a girls’ education here in Kenya.
Daraja provides everything our students need so that they can focus on their books, and not worry about these relatively minor expenses ending their education. Small expenses, but they add up.
Thankfully, so do footsteps, if you run (or walk) for Daraja in Bay to Breakers. The pain you’ll feel at the end of twelve kilometers is worth it, to help a Daraja girl make it through the twelfth grade.