Daraja - The bridge is an independent, non-profit and voluntary association in Linz for HIV-positive people in Kenya.
"Daraja" is Kisuaheli and means bridge. We want to build a bridge for development cooperation between Austria and Kenya.
The association Daraja - The Bridge holds the Austrian Donation Certificate.
Donations to Daraja - The Bridge are tax-deductible.
How it all started ...
In the fall of 2007, Daraja - The Bridge was founded by students of Social Work of the University of Applied Sciences Linz. During an internship of students from Linz in Kenya, the problems of the local people became apparent. In the small town of Emali, in one of the poorest regions of the country, especially women with HIV struggle a lot. Due to their infection, many are marginalized, lose their jobs, and are abandoned by their families. As a result, they lack the essentials to survive and women often only have access to prostitution as a source of income - running the risk of spreading the disease further.
From the beginning, it was important to Daraja - The Bridge not to give alms, but to provide sustainable help to stop the spread of the HIV virus. The cornerstone of the project was conceived in a joint discussion with stakeholders on-site: Training and the granting of microcredits should enable HIV-positive people to move from poverty to a self-determined life. But how could that work over the distance of several thousand kilometres?
Daniel Mwirigi, an experienced social worker from the area of Mount Kenya and Chris Tuitoek, who has already worked as a nurse for another organization in Emali, became friends with the students from Linz. The cooperation between Daraja - The Bridge and the Mt. Zion in Emali, which Daniel and Chris founded with others in support of the people in Emali, was thus sealed.
Since 2 December 2008, Daraja has been registered as an association.
The work of the association in Austria consists of the coordination of the project, providing the finances as well as public relations and administration. In addition, we provide awareness building and education through lectures and workshops in colleges, parishes, schools, and are also regularly represented with our own information desk at events such as the Lange Nacht der Forschung, the Südwind Street Festival, or the fair of the Unabhängiges Landes-Freiwilligen-Zentrum, We have long-standing cooperations with NGOs all over Austria, such as Eine-Welt-Kreis. To support our project members in Kenya, benefit concerts, flea markets, and punch booths are organized.
Since 2007, Daraja - The Bridge has a competent local partner who takes over the implementation of the project work on-site. The employees in Emali act under the name "Mt. Zion". Developments in the project, ideas, and visions are discussed together during the annual project visits, and the range of offers is constantly expanded and adapted. A regular exchange by e-mail and telephone between the project partners in Kenya and Daraja Austria also ensures reliable cooperation and should cover the needs of the target group as promptly and fully as possible.