“I feel confident that these girls will go into the world and flourish,” Carol says, referring to Daraja’s first graduating class. Daraja’s first Transition Program will conclude at the end of this week, a five-month preparation program for Daraja graduates’ futures.
The first part of the program revolved around community service and life skills such as opening a bank account and obtaining an ID in Kenya. For the second part, transition participants worked in 6-week internships around Laikipia County. Some girls taught in local primary schools, while some worked with organizations such as Ol Pejeta Conservancy, The Red Cross, Mpala Research Centre, and many more. The third and final aspect of the program, entitled ‘The Next Steps’ allows girls to focus on themselves and what they want out of their future.
“At first I was very nervous,” says Carol, “no one had ever done a program like this before. I had nothing to compare my work to.”
“Because of the number of girls, I was able to make the program very individualized as they matured.” Carol says, referring to a class size of 25 participants. “First I learned that I needed to treat them all like adults, because that’s how they proved themselves right away.”
Carol also explained how many of the girls grew during the internships. “They realized the importance of becoming life-long learners, I think. Many of the teaching interns didn’t realize how much they’d love teaching until they tried it. And Faith, at the Red Cross, has gained a deeper understand of community issues. Tina, at Mpala, now wants to teach and create awareness about conversation among youth. All the girls excelled.”
The girls are now in their final stage of the program: ‘The Next Steps.’
“I am feeling a little sad,” says Carol, “I will miss them so much. They have shaped me, and I have shaped them. We have learned together.”
After the last stage of the program, girls will have a better understand of who they are and where they want their lives to go. “They are realizing that they are in control of their own future,” explains Carol, “it’s just so great. I feel confident that these girls will go into the world and flourish.
When asked about her favorite part of the program, Carol concludes, “My favorite part is that my heart never grew tired. I was physically exhausted and I experienced sleepless nights thinking about these girls, but my heart never grew tired. Not one single moment.”