New documentary film

I have returned from New York once again, from two more full days of sitting in the edit suite with director, Barbara Rick, and editor, Laure Sullivan, fine tuning the footage of my last trip to Daraja Academy. The stories of the 104 high school girls living at the free boarding school in order to reach their dreams of changing the world, echo in my mind as I go about my own life. Three years ago, I first heard of this school, and I continue to be inspired by its mission to empower girls to be leaders of change.
The girls work hard with a rigorous academic schedule. Classes include math, English and Swahili; African History and African geography; three sciences — biology, chemistry and physics. They also take a business class, agriculture class, and religious studies. Following their daily academic schedule, they attend club meetings, play sports, and have office hours with teachers before dinner. Before lights are turned off at 10:00 p.m. (when the generator is shut down), they spend 2 and a half hours in study hall. The brilliant Kenyan sun has not yet risen to the east of stunning Mt. Kenya, when the girls awake the following day to do it all again.
The students are required to do 30 hours of community service each year, which gives each one an understanding of the needs in their communities. Many of the girls build a plan to return to their cities and villages in the future with tools to improve environmental practices, or to change laws that inhibit women’s freedom of choice in society. The girls’ dreams are practical and impressive.
What I have received organically in my body, heart and soul through listening to the girls’ stories, from sitting on the bench outside the classrooms on Daraja’s campus, and from talking with teachers, kitchen workers, and the Daraja founders, is that each of us deserves the opportunity to learn who we are in relationship to the world. That comes from learning about the world, from reading books from a diversity of authors, from a diversity of countries and life experiences, and from having goals for the future. I continue to be humbled by this school and its powerful, caring environment, and my hope for all schools, all people, is that we find our passion for life that will bless the world.

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