On January 8th, Daraja Academy’s sophomores and juniors began their first day of school of the 2011 school year! Feeling rejuvenated after a well-deserved one month break, the student body seemed more attentive than ever. “It feels great to see the girls respond so well in class,” says science teacher Peris.

Now that the sophomores and juniors have settled in, the administration consisting of Founders Jason and Jenni Doherty, Vice-Principal Victoria Gichuhi, and Director of Operations Peter Wathitu will be traveling around the country to find the next 26 girls. The administration has already screened applicants, collaborated with local non-profit organizations and set up interviews with qualified students. Now, it’s a matter of traveling across Kenya to meet these applicants.

The team feels optimistic. On the eve of their departure on January 17th, co-founder Jenni Doherty wrote, “We feel so much hope tonight.  Out there somewhere in Kenya are 14-16 year old girls knowing in their heart that they have to get to secondary school.  They are hoping and praying that someone will help them reach their goals and eventually their dreams.”

Make sure to return to the blog as we will be following their travels in search of the future bright, talented girls of the Class of 2014 freshman class!


How come the administration team is traveling to meet the students. Why don’t the students come to Daraja Academy campus to interview?

Because Daraja is working with an extremely destitute population of Kenya, the Daraja applicants do not have the money to pay for transportation to come to the school for an interview. During the first year of the admissions process in 2009, administrators set up a few interviews on campus. One candidate with an amazing application did not show up to the interview. Administrators tracked her down to see why she did not show up. She had been sent to work as house help because her family could not afford the transport money to take her to the interview. This student is now at Daraja Academy and is the #1 ranked student in her class. After this incident, administrators put forth measures to ensure they would never miss out on brilliant girls because of financial constraints. After all, the point of Daraja is to give opportunities to girls just like that.

Why do the freshmen begin school later?

Daraja administrators make a point of looking for girls AFTER the school year has begun. This is to ensure that the girl selected would truly have no other means of going to school. Sometimes applicants exaggerate their financial hardships for a chance at a four-year scholarship. But, if the school year has already begun, and they are not at any other school, administrators know that this student truly has no means of continuing their education.