Daraja Academy films

June 1, 2016

Daraja Education Fund/June 2016

I have just completed two documentary screenings & my annual fundraiser for the Daraja Academy in Kenya. Each time co-founder Jenni Doherty & I spoke about the secondary school, I felt as if I were back on campus, sitting with the exemplary students, drinking in their enthusiasm for education & changing our world for the better. I imagined hearing their laughter & seeing the bright light in their eyes.

Jenni’s husband, co-founder Jason Doherty has been a feminist for many years. He traveled to Africa with his parents as a young boy and fell in love with the continent and its many different cultures & people. It does not take being a feminist to care about educating girls. It takes a desire to level the playing field so that access to education & self-determination exists for all. Unicef reports: “Despite progress in recent years, girls continue to suffer severe disadvantage and exclusion in education systems throughout their lives. An estimated 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013.”

In my latest documentary about Daraja Academy, Daraja Girls: Powerful Beyond Measure, we address the issue of forced marriage for young girls, as early as the age of 10. Two Daraja students speak about their experiences: one who was taken at a young age as an older relative’s wife; another who announces she will become a lawyer to stop child marriage in Kenya. Unicef states: “If all girls had secondary education in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, child marriage would fall by 64 per cent, from almost 2.9 million to just over 1 million.”

Social activist & scholar bell hooks wrote: “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” The girls at Daraja Academy have overcome tremendous barriers to receive the educations that move them into active community leadership positions & win them scholarships to attend colleges & universities around the world. They live their empowerment as feminists and use their voices to advocate for young girls & women.

hooks writes: “Feminists are made, not born. One does not become an advocate of feminist politics simply by having the privilege of having been born female. Like all political positions one becomes a believer in feminist politics through choice and action.” (Feminism is For Everybody: passionate politics / bell hooks.)

I continue to live my passion for girls’ education, & for the Daraja Academy in Nanyuki, Kenya. Please consider joining me to support & sponsor these girls.


Asante sana,
Deborah Santana

Tags: Feminism Girls' Education