In August of this year, Daraja celebrated our first graduating class of girls. After four years of secondary school classes and a five-month Transition Program, Lillian walked across the stage on Daraja’s campus and received Daraja’s equivalent of a diploma- a certificate of program completion- as well as her official “leaving documents,” standard for graduated secondary school students across Kenya.
Now, months later, Lillian has gotten a job, started working, and continued to represent Daraja Academy in everything that she does. Her classmates can be found across the country doing similar things: finding jobs, working, going to University, and applying to certification programs and trade schools. They’ve each crossed their own ‘daraja,’ meaning ‘bridge,’ to create their own path for their future.
After graduating, Lillian focused on herself. She spent time thinking about the last four years at Daraja and how they have impacted her life. Piggybacking from the last activity in the Transition Program, the Daraja Quest, Lillian reflected on her values, her goals, and herself when contemplating her next steps.
Although she was accepted into the Business Management Program at Karatina University, Lillian decided that she would apply to Nursing Programs instead. Lillian explains, “Nursing is what I really want to do, it’s where my heart is.” Lillian conducted her Transition Program Internship in the maternity ward at Nanyuki District Hospital where she developed her love for nursing and was able to practice what she hopes to study in the future.
For now, Lillian is working at an M-Pesa location near her home. M-Pesa is a mobile-phone based money transfer and micro-financing service for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania. She works conducting money transfers and assisting customers with any issues that they may face.
“I started looking for a job once I graduated in order to stay busy and make some money. I am saving for when I decide to attend school again so that I am independent and can support myself. I just walked into stores and places near my home and asked if they were hiring. I learned confidence and professionalism at Daraja which helped me with that,” Lillian said.
When asked what other lessons she learned at Daraja that she’s utilized so far out of school, Lillian explained, “I learned things like math and interview skills that helped me start working after I left Daraja, but I think the most important thing that I learned was to pursue my dreams.”
Lillian visited Daraja’s campus in October and November to participate in a local Youth Forum put on by Denmark’s Action Aid! organization. She is sure to stay involved with initiatives like these that support local youth and encourage life-long learning, and she is glad to be representing Daraja wherever she goes.
She concluded, “I am proud of myself, and I am happy.”
Lillian, we are proud of you too!