Marjorie Went via Crowdrise
May 13, 2011
Cora Went wrote -
Daraja Academy is a completely free boarding secondary school in Kenya for bright, intelligent girls who wouldn't otherwise be able to go to school. These girls come from all over Kenya, from different tribes, and many from single- or no-parent homes, but what unites them all is a strong desire to go to school and became powerful women in their community, their country, and the world. Daraja Academy gives them the chance to do this. Daraja means bridge in swahili, and Daraja acts as a bridge not only to a better future for the girls of Daraja, but as a bridge between the lifestyle in Kenya and the lifestyle in places like the United States, through volunteers, exchange, and fundraising.
In this spirit, on May 15th, Daraja Academy is hosting a fundraiser called the Daraja Race for 77. There are now 77 girls on campus, and 77 friends of Daraja will be running Bay to Breakers this May 15th in support of the Daraja girls. Across the world in Kenya, on the same day, the Daraja Girls will run a lap-a-thon in which the girls run about the same distance as Bay to Breakers. Each runner is paired with a girl on campus.
I have the pleasure of being paired with Gitwa, a second form (sophomore) on campus. My family and friends and I this Christmas raised enough money to sponsor her for the entire year, and I hope to be able to sponsor her throughout her time at Daraja. (Thank you to all who helped with that sponsorship, again, and I hope that together we can keep it up for the next two years too). Gitwa has so much wisdom, and has no hesitation about sharing it with the campus. One of my favorite memories of Gitwa is a speech that she gave about a passage of the bible that she read one day during morning assembly, that had something to do about being strong and consistent. She compared it to a flower that they have there, that changed color from purple in the morning, to blue at midday, to white in the evening. I remember Gitwa smiling, gesticulating, and with raised eyebrows and a strong voice emanating out of her small body, saying to the other girls, "Now, do you want to be that flower? No!! If you start out studying hard in the morning, study hard at midday, and study hard at night! Don't change your personality halfway through the day!" Her bold way of preaching and her constant smile and joy always left me amazed. So, as Gitwa is running her 28 laps around the Daraja campus in Kenya, I will be running Bay to Breakers in San Francisco.
I feel like I have effused enough already about how amazing Daraja Academy is and how much I feel that the school, and women's education in general, is one of the most important causes out there. If you need more proof, go to www.daraja-academy.org and read some of the student stories. I still can't read them without crying. You can also read about my experiences on campus on my gap year blog, ayearofadventure.wordpress.com, and see how much of an impact these girls have had on me. Bay to Breakers 2011... let's all get together to run an awesome race, both in Kenya and San Francisco, and to help build the bridge that these girls need to become changemakers in the world!
Any amount of money helps... really. Thank you!