The girls are back! Daraja is so excited to welcome all 104 Daraja girls back from end-of-term break. Although students miss home during school, the reality of what home is like upon return leaves some girls missing another home: the Daraja Academy.
“When my sister and I get home for break, we talk about what her school is like, and we talk about what Daraja is like,” Yvonne said. Yvonne, Form 1 at the Academy, is from Majengo, the slum of Nanyuki. Yvonne’s parents died when she was eight years old, so her grandmother took Yvonne and her sister in. “The biggest difference I would say is that the teachers are not so friendly at other schools. But at Daraja, our teachers care about us. The students care for one other. At Daraja, we do not live like a school; we live like a family.”
When asked what life would have been like had she not been admitted to the Academy, Yvonne was quick to respond. “Without Daraja, I would have been a street child, probably employing myself in any kind of business like washing people’s clothes in order to continue with my life,” she said. She paused for a moment before continuing. “Without a vision or a goal,” she said, “I would have been a nobody. There is nothing for me in Nanyuki. There is nothing for me in all of Kenya in fact without an education.”
Staying busy during break
Yvonne has an infectious enthusiasm toward school. The fact that she was home from school didn’t stop her from building upon leadership skill sets learned at Daraja during the break. Yvonne performed community service at Chief’s Camp in Nanyuki as a file clerk and bookkeeper. After putting in 14 hours, Yvonne sought out yet another volunteer opportunity to fill her free time before coming back to school, as a medical assistant at Nanyuki’s District Hospital. “I have learned to share pain with other people,” she said. “I wanted to help. The doctors could do the work very fast with my help. Two hands are better than one, and four hands are better than two.”
Yvonne’s message to Race for Daraja teams!
“I missed school so much while I was gone,” Yvonne said with a smile. “The older girls told us, the Form 1s, all about Bay to Breakers, and I am so excited! I want the people running for us to know that Daraja is very important to me since it helps me know who I am in many ways. Daraja helps me to have dignity. And it helps me become part of my community. Thank you for running for my right to an education!”