My name is Leslie Schmitz and I am in a club at school where we fundraise for the Daraja Academy for girls in Kenya . My mom, Pam, and I are joining together to raise money for Daraja by running the Bay to Breakers this year. We have to raise $2,500, which is enough money to send a girl to school for a year.
We have been matched with Kenyan student Tina Pessi for the Race for Daraja! Tina is an 18-year old student from Dol-Dol, an area 30 minutes from campus. Tina is from the Maasai tribe, a tribe that traditionally places very low priority on girls education. She is also a twin. Upon their graduation from class eight, her sister was allowed to continue onto secondary school, while Tina was asked to stay home. It costs about $500 to go to high school in Kenya. Students have to pay for tuition, as well as school supplies and uniforms. The drop rate from elementary school to high school is 80%. Tina's life path was set to make her another statistic. Fortunately, Tina received a four year scholarship from Daraja Academy...a twist in her fate that will not only change the course of her future, but that of her siblings and future children.
Paria Rajai of Daraja says, "Hopefully one day you will be able to meet Tina. She is ALWAYS smiling! She is so grateful to be at Daraja- she never takes it for granted. She has made it her home. All the children on campus gravitate toward her because she is so sweet and nurturing."