You’ve been on campus, you’ve got hundreds of pictures, and you’re pretty certain that you have a Pulitzer Prize winner in your set. Here’s your chance to show off that picture!
Pick My Pic photo competition asks all campus visitors to submit their very favorite photo from campus. Daraja Academy students from the school’s Media Club- a club that focuses on journalism and photography-will be competing as well!
1) Submit your photo, along with a one sentence caption, to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 6th.
2) Maureen (below), 11th grader and resident photo journalist, will pick the top 10 best photographs submitted by campus visitors and Media Club members.
3) A photo album of the top 10 contestants- as chosen by Miss Maureen herself- will be posted on the Daraja Academy Facebook page on September 7th.
4) The photo with the most “likes” will be featured on the front page of Daraja Academy’s website. Final day to vote is September 15th.
Meet The Judge: Maureen (aka Mo-Mo) Maureen is a junior at Daraja Academy. Don’t be deceived by her sweet smile and friendly face- Maureen has got lots of big opinions. After three years of being a member of the Media Club, she is our resident photo journalist. Move over, Simon Cowell- Maureen is the judge to fear!
Teachers Mercy, Doreen, Carol and Joseph in a professional development workshop
To keep the quality of education at Daraja in top shape, our teachers are often going through professional development exercises – either with other Kenyan teachers, or with volunteers that visit campus.
Volunteer Sue August worked with the teachers early this year to help them identify their learning styles. She provided questionnaires which the teachers used to determine whether they learn by doing, experiencing, watching or conceptualizing. It helped the teachers to see how different students may need different approaches in the classroom.
Teachers Charles and Carol both said that it helped them to see not only how their students’ learning can be affected by this information, but also how different teachers’ methods in the classroom could be affected by their learning styles.
Teachers from Marin Academy in San Rafael, CA, worked with the Daraja teachers on building a supportive and constructive community of educators. And English teachers Colleen and Karen Lafferty worked with the Daraja faculty on preparations for the final Kenyan secondary school exam, the KCSE.
During the term break the teachers also had some follow up training sessions with Teachers Without Borders where they had more opportunities to explore different learning and teaching styles.
- Nurse Jacinta with student Rosalia
When the Daraja girls are asked who their role models are, you can be sure that Nurse/Counselor Jacinta’s name will come up. She’s a woman who has risen to all of life’s challenges and chased down her dreams. But most importantly, she’s a woman who understands the situations that some Kenyan girls are put in.
When Jacinta was 14 or 15 years old and home for a term break, her father arranged a marriage for her; she hadn’t finished high school and dreamed of becoming a journalist. The man she was to marry was a police officer in his 40s. Her father was a nomadic farmer with three wives and 23 children – the dowry was needed to support the family.
She stayed with the man for 11 days, distraught at the situation, before she resolved to get out. She told him she needed to buy feminine products then used the money he gave her to buy paper. She scribbled a note explaining what had happened and sent it with a young boy to the Catholic priest who had helped her get into elementary school.
The next day, the priest, several missionaries, classmates and the police came to remove Jacinta from the marriage. She was returned to the parish’s boarding school where she had been studying and stayed there year-round, volunteering on the property to earn her school fees. “I was the first one to say no to early marriage in my area,” she said.
Jacinta finished high school, married a man of her choosing, studied nursing and counseling in university and is the mother to two fantastic teenage boys.
She has been part of the Daraja family since early this year and continues to work part-time in town as a nurse, bereavement counselor and HIV/AIDS counselor. Her connection with each girl and presence on campus has become priceless to the entire community. She started by sharing her story with the girls, being available for chats and playing volleyball with them. Eventually the girls became comfortable opening up to her – Jacinta acknowledges that “only for the girls to trust you – that is something. I want to tell them about my life and maybe it will change one or two people.” We’re confident that since she first stepped foot on campus, she has changed many more lives than that.
Here in Kenya, we started getting news about a severe drought in the north of the country around the beginning of July. The international news agencies were slow picking up the story and by the time the rest of the world heard about the situation in the Horn of Africa, the drought had become a famine.
As people have become more aware, international aid money has slowly increased to the hardest-hit areas: Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. But here in Kenya, there has been an incredible outpouring from everyday Kenyans to support their fellow citizens affected by the famine. Kenyans for Kenya is a campaign started by one of Kenya’s largest banks and a mobile phone company. So far, more than $7 million has been raised by local efforts, including donations by text and fundraising concerts. There are stories of people who have donated an entire month’s wages, while the minimum text donation is 10 Kenyan shillings, or about nine cents U.S.
It’s been encouraging to see Kenyans band together to help each other out when it’s most needed. The Kenyans for Kenya website has a section for international donations that is definitely worth checking out.
Bridge building – Jason’s dad, Jack Doherty, along with volunteer Alex Rodondi and head of maintenance Peter Rutere, have been hard at work down at the river. They’ve built a bridge to connect the Daraja neighborhood with the nearest village, Naibor.
Naibor hosts an important Saturday market but has been connected to the Daraja side by just a shaky log over the water. The new bridge will help the community have better access to the market town, and make the journey much safer for our neighbors and their children.
Teacher development – Teachers Wycliffe, Carol, Doreen and Joseph were invited to attend a series of workshops put on by Teachers Without Borders. Victoria Gichuhi, Daraja’s vice principal, was one of the presenters in the program, called the Certificate of Teaching Mastery. The four teachers returned to campus each day with a lot of enthusiasm about what they learned. Carol said the sessions were “amazing. They got us really excited about new things we can do in the classroom and taught us how to teach students at different levels.”
Community service – While the girls are home for the holidays they’re required to do 5-10 hours of community service, depending on what grade they’re in. Three students are on campus and are working on a grey water system that will take used water from sinks and showers and make it useable for trees and plants on campus.
Volunteer Maggie Gaughran gave six Daraja girls the opportunity to learn skills that can lead to immediate employment – training to become CPR instructors. The group was chosen based on their submission of a one-paragraph application explaining why the wanted to take the course. Here’s an excerpt from Alice N. and Teddy’s applications.
“When I was young I went to play with some other kids near the road – we witnessed a car accident. People were really injured and nobody in the crowd could help; they all stared. I have always held that dream of learning how to conduct first aid and also teach people so that if such a thing happened I could save a life. Daraja is a land of opportunities and I really want to learn CPR so I can have the skills and teach others.” -Alice N.
“I think learning CPR is important because it is applicable everywhere, as long as the place has the presence of man. As we humans are exposed to numerous health hazards – injuries, accidents and falling sick being just a few – so must we find the quickest means possible to save lives. It is my belief that knowledge of CPR is the greatest and quickest savior in such crucial situations, when even hospitals are out of reach.” -Teddy
Joyce and Carol from Form 1, Alice, Teddy and Joan from Form 2 and Mary K. from Form 3 successfully completed the program and taught their first CPR lesson to their classmates who had never learned CPR before.