It would be a mistake to describe the 60 acres that lie within the fence that surrounds Daraja as only a school. In reality, it is a bustling village.
Most of the teachers, cooks, guards and maintenance workers live on campus with their spouses and children. Like our diverse student body, the staff hails from almost a dozen tribes joining the school from many parts of Kenya.
The Daraja Academy garden is worked by students, volunteers and staff, and produces spinach, kale, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, squash, herbs and more. Almost all of the school’s greens come from the garden. In a push toward sustainability, all of the kitchen waste is returned to the compost pile where the cycle begins anew.
Each morning on campus, roosters announce the coming dawn, as cows are milked, and eggs are collected at the hen house. Producing much of our own food in a responsible manner accomplishes two of Daraja Academy’s aims: providing healthy, nutritious meals for our growing girls, as well as creating a forum for our students to accrue practical, usable skills that will benefit them in the future.
Beyond our gardens and “barn yard”, campus life pulses on throughout the day with games of volleyball, netball, basketball and football (soccer) breaking out most afternoons on the courts and sports fields.
The Daraja nature trail, created by Mr. Charles and the Form 2s, is a campus gem. The trail winds through acacia woodland and scrub brush, showing off the natural diversity of the flora and fauna of campus. Three sets of benches provide places for walkers to sit and experience the area in its natural state.
It would be a mistake to describe Daraja as only a school, although at its heart that is what Daraja Academy is. Unlike schools in other parts of the world, the academic block and library is alive with activity, from dawn to well past dusk. The vibrant academic life is sight that must truly be seen to be believed.
The girls of Daraja Academy are grateful to be in school and work hard to better themselves. Their determination and sense of purpose are almost palpable as they go about their daily routines. Whether in the classroom, the dorms, or the library, these young ladies serve as a standard for the rest of the campus community revolving around them.