After four years of secondary school, every student in Kenya begins a vulnerable gap year between sitting for their KCSE exam and obtaining admittance to a University. This time can be an incredibly exciting time. But for many students, it is a year of uncertainty. In many of the most rural areas of Kenya, jobs are nowhere to be found. Educated girls are unsure where to turn.
To address this, The Daraja Academy of Kenya has implemented a Transition program. This program is designed to help girls navigate this gap year and gain the tools that they will need when they leave Daraja’s campus.
Daraja Academy is located in central Kenya outside the town of Nanyuki, about four hours north of Nairobi, Kenya’s capitol city. A boarding secondary school, Daraja provides a quality education to Kenyan girls with top academy scores and exceptional leadership skills, but no means to continue their education past the primary level since secondary school is paired with high school fess in Kenya.
For five months, Daraja girls learn business skills, personal finance skills, career exploration, community leadership skills, citizenship responsibilities and more. In the first strand of the program, girls engaged in community service projects surrounding the Nanyuki area and gained life skills such as opening and maintaining a bank account and obtaining an ID in Kenya.
During the second strand, each girl worked positions as interns in organizations and companies in the local area. Girls worked with the local Red Cross Office, aided wildlife research and conservation teams at Mpala Research Centre, taught at local primary schools, and worked with Mituma Arts Limited. Through these internships, girls were able to gain experience and learn skills that they can use in future jobs.
In a final stage of the program, Daraja girls focused on reflecting on the end of their time with Daraja Academy, what their future will look like, and preparing themselves for the end of the program. They spent time thinking about the differences they can make in their communities and how they can make their country and the world a better place. On August 23rd, Daraja Academy held a graduation ceremony to celebrate the very first class of girls.
Now, graduates are spread all over the country attending University, searching for employment, and working to make a difference in their home communities as educated citizens.
To learn more about The Daraja Academy of Kenya, visit www.daraja-academy.org.