If you spend time on the Daraja Academy campus near Nanyuki, Kenya, you will hear mention of “Uncle Daraja.” Known as Steve Gaughran at home in New York, Uncle Daraja has been volunteering on the Daraja campus for seven consecutive years. A full-time employee of Goldman Sachs, he spends his vacation days executing construction and maintenance projects on the Daraja campus, while also building relationships with Daraja’s staff and students. Steve and his wife, Kathy, have sponsored the education of five Daraja girls over the years. Their daughter, Maggie, has also volunteered on campus.
During his two-week stay at Daraja in September 2017, Steve provided a welder and grinder for the maintenance staff and worked with staff Stanley and John to create two meditation spots for the students. They also installed benches for volunteers and updated the tool shed.
Stanley and John are family to Steve, as he has watched them grow over the years. They communicate weekly on Facebook when Steve is back in the United States. “When I met John and Stanley, they were boys. Now they are responsible young men and it has been rewarding to see them grow up.”
Steve also stays in touch with the four students he has sponsored, and was happy to spend time with one of them, Shamsia, during this trip. Shamsia is now studying International Relations at the University of Nairobi.