Tag Archives: Daraja Academy

Daraja Academy Celebrates IDG2013 with The Girl Declaration

images-13To celebrate International Day of the Girl, Daraja Academy students assembled in the patio outside of the dining hall on campus. Students talk about the power of girls and women frequently, so the International Day of the Girl celebration was unique to the holiday. As a partner of Nike’s Girl Effect, Daraja girls were excited to read and discuss the Girl Effect’s newest project – The Girl Declaration.

The Girl Declaration is a statement written by 508 girls living in poverty around the world with the expertise of more than 25 leading development organizations, declaring the power and strength of girls, in order to be included in the world’s next development agenda. The Millennium Development Goals, which were established following the Millennium Summit at the United Nations in 2000 and expire in 2015, fell short in prioritizing girls, and this declaration was written to ensure that would not happen again.

So on Friday, 11 October 2013 Daraja students broke into small groups and read the declaration aloud. They talked about what they thought about the declaration, and what it means to them. Girls shared with the entire group what they learned from the declaration, and inspiration that they took from it.

In discussion, Jecinta, a first year Daraja student explained, “The Girl Declaration has made a huge impact on me. I know my potential, I am so proud to be a girl.”

Her classmates agreed.

“I have a voice, and I will use it,” asserted Bilha, a second year student.

“I would add,” advised third year Irene, “This is the moment whereby rising up does not scare me.” The other Daraja girls at her table nodded in response.

Following the discussion, Daraja students were ready to show their support to the declaration by signing it. Few by few, they came up to the front of the room and signed a poster with the declaration on it with excited squeals, happily stating their solidarity with the goals of the declaration.

Watch the Daraja Academy sign The Girl Declaration.

WISH: Girls Education is about more than just Math and Science

It is clear to many that the girls’ education movement is not only about improving access to education for girls, but also the quality of that education and the empowerment of girls around the globe. At The Daraja Academy of Kenya, it is important to empower and create a well-rounded and confident leader, in addition to an educated girl.

 

In response to the attack on Kenya in Nairobi recently, third year Daraja students created illustrations for peace during their WISH lesson. Mesret’s illustration shows that peace starts within oneself and only then can it be propelled outward.

In response to the attack on Kenya in Nairobi recently, third year Daraja students created illustrations for peace during their WISH lesson. Mesret’s illustration shows that peace starts within oneself and only then can it be propelled outward.

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.

 

Mesret arrived at Daraja Academy with a hunger for education. A couple weeks prior, she approached her father to ask for assistance in paying for her school fees. Despite Mesret’s extraordinary academic scores, he refused. Coming from an area of unrest as many tribes fight over water and grazing land, Mesret yearned not only for an opportunity to continue her education, but also for the skills to bring peace to her community.

 

In addition to the demanding Kenyan curriculum, Daraja students have an additional class once a week called WISH class. WISH stands for Women of Integrity, Strength, and Hope. With four years comprising three terms each, Daraja girls focus on a wide variety of subjects in WISH.

 

During WISH class in her first term in secondary school, Mesret defined what “Integrity,” “Strength,” and “Hope” each mean to her and what role she wants each of those values to play in her life.

 

Mesret explains, “I am a woman of integrity, I work with the strength that is in my heart, and I have hope for the future of my community.”

 

By year two, Mesret engaged in lessons about topics such as culture, community, gender stereotypes and more. She felt more confident both in and out of the classroom and became a natural leader as peers frequently approached her as someone that they could rely on for help and encouragement.

 

As a current third year student, Mesret is utilizing the confidence she has built and the self worth she has developed to apply the knowledge that she’s gained from inside the classroom to learn about leadership, conflict resolution, and peace building in WISH class.

 

“WISH this term is really exciting because I get to learn about something that I am really interested in. I want to bring what I learn back to my community,” Mesret reports.

Next year, WISH class will continue to give Mesret the tools that she can use to utilize her education to positively transform her community. She will learn about teaching, social justice, tools for social change, and stress management among many other skills and topics.

 

Although it is powerful, educating girls isn’t just about giving a girl a pen and a notebook. It is about investing in her, and teaching her that she can be more than a wife or a housekeeper. It is about giving her the tools to make the difference that she thinks needs to be made. It is about trusting her and letting her fly.

 

To learn more about The Daraja Academy of Kenya, visit www.daraja-academy.org.

The Girl Child: A Poem by Naomi

Naomi is a third year student at The Daraja Academy of Kenya from Rumuruti, Kenya. Her parents are pastoralists and although she excelled as a primary school student, she had no hope of raising the school fees to advance her education. She was admitted to Daraja after resolving to not lose hope. Naomi is now an aspiring poet and lawyer, and her creativity shines through all of her work at Daraja. On a typical day, Naomi can be found writing, drawing, socializing with the many friends she has made, and helping other students with their English studies.

Daraja Academy Celebrates IDG2013

Daraja Academy Celebrates IDG2013

 

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.

 

 

The Girl Child by Naomi, Form 3 (11th grade)

 

The lives of innocent children have been shattered.

Come look my brethren,

Mighty dreams have been thwarted.

My sister is a commodity of trade,

Only reaching to the third grade,

She found herself under a share,

She became property of an exchange,

Having no say over anything.

I have been longing for revenge,

Heavy penalty but got nothing,

Feel the life of my innocent sister.

 

This is a public outcry.

I insist on stiff measures,

Both in oceans and in dry,

It is a grievance from all creatures,

The inhuman act of RAPE.

Four humiliating offenses,

To my sister who lacks defenses,

Feel the same of my innocent sister.

 

My sister is depressed,

No second for deep rest,

In marriage she is oppressed,

Her property lives in her chest,

Financially she is pressed,

Me beast of burdens is hard-pressed,

No matter how she tries her best,

Her efforts are all compressed,

Restricted from searching her light to the west,

Look! She is denied of her life’s zest,

Why her alone and not the rest?

 

A women has the right to rest,

If allowed she is able to invest,

In enabled she will pass any test,

This is a true word not spoken in jest,

Instilled in me in order to teach the rest,

Feel the discomfort of my innocent sister.

 

Before my heart was burning hot,

But now I am grateful a lot,

Finally I have reached my lot,

I wish to halt on this spot,

Make a change as small as a dot,

To relieve my sister from the pot,

Because there is strength in everything I’ve got,

There is ability in my innocent sister.

 

To learn more about The Daraja Academy of Kenya, visit www.daraja-academy.org.