After my first visit to Daraja in the summer of 2009, there was no question that I would return. Daraja is a magical place that wraps around your heart and fills you with hope and inspiration. I experienced the dedication of the teachers and staff and the commitment of the students during my two week visit. I knew that Daraja would become a big part of my life. I also knew that water would be a factor to help sustain the school. As I wrote in my blog,” Education is a dream for these girls and water is a necessity to sustain that dream”.
My fundraising began small; pennies collected from my students, dollars donated from friends to events in California and generous donors who believe in Daraja. The University of San Diego is a partner with Daraja and the first annual fundraiser was held this past May. The outpouring from the community was overwhelming. With the help of many supporters, money was raised to build rain catchments and to begin work on the water well. A dream became reality.
The magic of Daraja is contagious. It seems that everyone I talk with about Daraja wants to become involved in some way. We now have one faculty member who made a visit and through her book club raised money to sponsor a Daraja girl. Her proposed course will bring graduate students from USD there as part of the school’s international service. The Dean is traveling to Daraja this summer. A group of students from the non-profit, WitKids, created a talent show and raised money for the water project as well. We are all linked and together have built bridges to Daraja.
To advocate for these remarkable young women to have the opportunity to an education is joyous. I am proud to be part of this extended family. Daraja exists because of the spirit of the founders, Jason and Jenni Doherty, two remarkable persons who make a difference in the lives of these amazing young women every day. If you reach out your hands it is easy to catch the magic.