Daraja Academy is East Africa’s first completely free secondary boarding school for girls. It is the organization that Paria and I have been devoting much of our time to the past six months, and it is where we are living for the next six months.
The campus itself is the site of the former Baraka school for boys from Baltimore MD (that was featured in the popular documentary The Boys Of Baraka). It is located approximately 25 km north-west of the town of Nanyuki, Kenya. The closest town to daraja is called Naibor (pronounced Nigh-Bo) and is maybe two km away.
The founders are Jason and Jenni Doherty, a couple from Marin county who both have a background in education and a passion for making the world a better place. They spent years researching and planning the best way to help the communities here. The ultimate decision was to help a limited number of girls but help them completely. Daraja accomplishes this by providing food, housing, uniforms and everything else the girls need on campus so issues of everyday survival will not hinder their education. The idea is that they will then be able to use their education to improve their community.
One of the most attractive things about this organization is the fact that there is such little overhead cost. There is only ONE employee making over $5,000 a year and even she is vastly underpaid. This allows the donations that people make to go directly to the needs of the girls.
For more information on Daraja Academy go to www.daraja-academy.org.