At the end of each term, Daraja students ritualistically sit down for one of their favorite activities and traditions on campus- writing sponsor letters. Because sponsors are truly the lifeblood of Daraja and the enablers for Daraja’s programs, the girls get excited to share their lives and stories with their sponsors time and time again.
Being a sponsor can be an immensely rewarding experience for people of any walk of life. The sponsor population for Daraja students includes Americans, Danes, organizations, young people, and much more. Sponsors decide to build a relationship with a girl for a number of reasons- to support Daraja’s program, to connect with a student across the world, or to give back to a cause they believe in – girls’ education. Each sponsor gets something unique out of the experience, depending on who they are.
It is becoming common for families to sponsor one or more Daraja students. Sponsoring a Daraja girl is a great way to grow as a family, for and with their student. For the Gaughran Family of New York (Steve, Kathy, and their daughter, Maggie), sponsoring Daraja students has been among the most rewarding endeavors they’ve ever had opportunity to take on. Together, they’ve sponsored four Daraja girls, three who have just finished their K.C.S.E. exam, Shamsia, Grace, and Zeki; and one graduated student, Florence Mueni.
The Gaughran’s explained, “We have really enjoyed forming a relationship with the girls we sponsor. The letters exchanged and hearing about how things are going in school and in their lives is great. The letters are beautifully written.”
Although it is not an expectation, sponsors are welcome to visit campus at some point to meet their student in person, something that the Gaughran Family has done many times. Collectively, through many family and individual trips, the family has visited campus for a total of 25 weeks since Daraja opened.
Steve confessed, “Visiting campus is by far my favorite part, going there and seeing how hard everyone works, not just the girls, but the teachers and staff as well. One quickly feels like part of the Daraja campus family while you are there. You are made to feel very welcome and everyone appreciates that you have come to visit and help out.”
Shamsia, Grace, and Zeki, the three girls who the Gaughran’s sponsor, have really loved the relationships that they’ve built with the family. Zeki said, “It is so great that I don’t just have one sponsor, we’re like a big family with them, Shamsia, Grace, and me.”
Shamsia continued, “I want to tell them thank you every chance that I can.”
Grace agreed, “I miss them every single day. I am so thankful that they have supported me at Daraja, I would be a different person without them.”
The Gaughran’s are excited for this coming July, because all three of their girls will be graduating from the Daraja Academy, following their completion of the Transition Program. “The girls are a part of our family,” they explained, “we have pictures of them in our house just as we have pictures of our own family. Seeing them mature from first year students to graduates has been truly remarkable. Watching them grow makes us proud just like they are our own children!”
If you, your family, school club, organization, religious congregation, or any other group are interested in sponsoring one or more Daraja students, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit our website.