For the last three weeks, Form 4 & Student Body President, Alice Naini, and Form 2, Abdia Osman, have been studying at Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley. The relationship between Daraja and Priory began back in 2008, when Priory held the very first Daraja fundraiser.
We would like to share with you a press release (below) from Priory and express our sincerest gratitude to Priory for inviting Alice and Abdia to the US and facilitating an experience of a lifetime.
For Immediate Release 3/28/2015:
Kenyan Students from Daraja Academy Visit Woodside Priory School
Abdia, Class of 2015, and Alice, Class of 2017, seem like any other high school students; they like music, ice-cream, and dancing, but they are also from Kenya where electricity is unreliable, access to clean water is rare, political turmoil is rampant, and girls access to a quality education is severely limited.
“Everyone has been so friendly and helpful, we’ve made new friends that we hope to carry with us the rest of our lives,” said Abdia. Alice nodded in agreement and added, “At Daraja, we have four pillars that guide us, one of them is to embrace differences, this is true at the Priory as well, we felt so welcomed and embraced.” said Alice.
Abdia and Alice’s visit was the first of a partnership with the Daraja Academy (which means ‘Bridge’ in Swahili). Woodside Priory School began its relationship with Daraja in 2007, since then, students and faculty have fundraised for the school and led faculty and staff summer volunteer trips to Daraja Academy.
Priory science faculty and former Daraja Board member, Bob Bessin said, “The purpose of the visit is for cultural learning and exchange,” he continued, “This is an opportunity to expose Woodside Priory School students to similar aged student’s perspectives and insights from Kenya.” Mr. Bessin also said that the Daraja Academy “serves to educate and empower women who have no other means of support,” and that they also help “break the cycle of males getting preference to be educated.”
Abdia and Alice’s visit wasn’t just to mingle, they were also panelists on a Cultural Forum Series at the Priory. At the forum, Abdia and Alice discussed stereotypes, cultural differences, and how people can open their hearts and minds to break down destructive barriers. As an example, Alice cited the fact that many of the Daraja girls come from different tribes that sometimes are hostile toward each other. Alice said, “At Daraja, we learn to listen and respect each other’s differences, and to leave every day better than we found it.”
After traveling in Africa extensively as a child, and teaching in Tanzania for a year after graduating college, Daraja founder Jason Doherty realized his life’s purpose was in Africa. Wanting to do something about the lack of access to secondary school for East African girls, Bay Area natives Jason and his wife, Jenni (both educators) decided to move to Africa to start a school.
Daraja Academy provides a quality secondary education to exceptional Kenyan girls because we believe that educated girls can transcend poverty and change the world. For more information on the Daraja Academy, please visit http://daraja-academy.org/
Woodside Priory School is an independent, Catholic, college preparatory school in the Benedictine tradition. Our mission is to assist students of promise in becoming lifelong learners who will productively serve a world in need of their gifts.