Daraja was my golden opportunity – A bridge from uncertainty and darkness to a world of opportunity and light. – Monicah (Class of 2018)
Monicah is the youngest of three children. When she was just three years old her mother left, and she went to live with her grandmother. Her grandmother passed shortly after, and she was sent to Rhema Girls Rescue Centre. In 2012, the building collapsed, and she was left with nothing and nowhere to go. Even though both of her parents were still alive, she was sent to another children’s home. Despite these challenges, Monicah excelled in school and was accepted into Daraja Academy in 2014.
Monicah arrived at Daraja having set high academic goals for herself. She wanted to prove that she deserved her spot. She went on to finish every year at the top of her class. She even out performed girls who came to Daraja with higher grades than her, and throughout her 4 years she was praised for her academic excellence. One of her teachers says, “Regardless of the many challenges she has gone through, she is a reliable girl. She has been consistent in her performance… She is a girl who is driven by principles towards her goal. She is disciplined… She has not let me down. I almost guarantee you that she will never let you down either.”
Monicah says, “My education matters to me a lot. That is why I worked so hard to get into high school. Without education, I would be able to do very little. With education, I see all of my dreams coming true. My education has helped me realize how I can bring change to my community and has given me the confidence to follow my dreams. I hope to be a role model to younger girls in my community as an educated woman. It has always been my dream to help at least three children get an education and help them see a brighter future ahead. I have been lucky enough to receive scholarships up through high school, and I want everyone who has helped me to be proud and realize their contributions were not in vain. I am grateful for all of my mentors and want to be able to mentor others. I hope to teach them the importance of education and giving back to their community. I hope they even do it better than me!”
Monicah attributes this dream to Daraja founder, Jason Doherty. She says, “One of my heroes is Jason. He has changed the lives of many girls through his actions. He has helped so many of us see our dreams come true by sponsoring us. I want to be like Jason and give back to my community by sponsoring students. From Jason, I have learned that I should always do my best in everything I do. He always tells us, ‘You can choose to sacrifice pleasure today and enjoy a lot tomorrow, or you can choose to sleep today and suffer the rest of your life.’ He has pushed me to work hard every day, do my best, and to become a change maker.”
Monicah graduated from Daraja’s Transition Program on May 3rd, 2019 as the second in her class. She plans to attend University of Eldoret where she will study civil engineering. When reflecting on leaving campus, Monicah says, “Daraja is like a completely different world. We have freedom – we get to choose right from wrong and Daraja has taught us the difference. I am going to miss my family, the great examples of powerful women, and the feeling I have when I am on campus, but I hope to be able to come back. I want to use the skills I learn in university to build Daraja classrooms and dormitories. I want to give back to the school that pushed me and helped me become who I am today.”