Daraja is a private boarding secondary school in Laikipia East District that provides quality education to exceptional Kenyan girls who have achieved top academic scores and exceptional leadership skills, but lack the financial means to continue their education. Daraja provides students with full scholarships and resources to be critical thinkers, progressive leaders and architects of their futures. The academy provides shelter, food, healthcare, and counseling services to allow students to fully focus on academic and personal development.

The school offers a holistic education for the spiritual, social, physical and intellectual growth of the girls. It implements and teaches sustainable methods to provide food and resources: composting, bee keeping, agroforestry and organic gardening.  The school includes counselling, peer support, and meditation. In addition, Daraja allows students access to the Kenyan Secondary Education curriculum and an opportunity to sit for the K.C.S.E. National Exams.

There is also a weekly empowerment course entitled WISH (Women of Integrity, Strength, and Hope) taught over the course of four years, and a Transition Programme unique to Daraja which prepares graduates for life after secondary school. 

Community Service at Daraja

The academy requires that each student commit to 10 hours of service in their home communities during each of the three term breaks each year. This teaches the girls that the education they are receiving is something to be shared and that it nurtures their innate leadership abilities.  Daraja girls volunteer approx. 12000 hours every year in their local communities, at places like health clinics, schools, and community centres.

Daraja Pillars

There are 4 values that guide the school in its teaching and operations:

Pillar 1.
Be accountable for the role you play at Daraja, neither neglecting nor abusing it.
Pillar 2.
Maintain open communication. Speak honestly and listen respectfully.
Pillar 3.
Embrace differences. Treat all with dignity and respect.
Pillar 4.
Each day, leave it better than you found it.

The motto is: She believed she could…so she did

Mpala’s Relationship with Daraja

Mpala hosts girls from Daraja Academy in an internships and mentorship programme. The aim is to expose girls who recently completed high school to the job market. The goal of the experience is to help them make more informed choices on their career goals and select the most suitable courses when they join college. 

On the Daraja Transition Programme promising female high school graduates spend a month interning at different organisations including Mpala Research Centre. In addition, every year Princeton Interns at Mpala work with Daraja to help facilitate their education and mission.

In partnership with Mpala Research Centre, Daraja Academy also hosts a “Women in Conservation” series that discusses issues of endangered wildlife in the area. Due to Mpala’s close working relationship with the Academy, our Logistics Manager has been appointed to the selection panel for the Transition Programme. 

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