The Big Pen School

Nairobi, KenyaStaff in Nairobi have created a brighter future for some of the poorest children there by helping to rebuild a dilapidated school in the slums on the outskirts of the city.

The project cost around US$6,500, 50 per cent of which was contributed by the Emirates Airline Foundation. The Big Pen School is located in the Korogocho slum and provides basic school education with the help of volunteers.

A team of Emirates staff volunteers decided to help renovate the building in 2005 when the school, which educated around 500 students at the time, performed remarkably well in the national examinations tables, despite its sorry state.

“The school is made up of several huts constructed of scrap metal and tin sheets with earthen floors,” said Stephen Kisaka, Sales Manager, who co-chaired the project with Lloyd Mahowe, Finance & Administration Manager.

“The roofs and walls had gaping holes and were literally falling apart. In addition, the school had no electricity or other basic amenities, including sanitary facilities. With the support of the foundation, we decided to donate materials and our time to renovate the school.”

Three years later, the much-improved buildings were officially handed over at a ceremony attended by Emirates staff, the school administration, students and local leaders.

Ali Al Shamsi, Regional Manager East Africa, thanked the Emirates team for their relentless support of the project, particularly the project team which included Wainaina Mwaura, Accounts Officer; Paul Githae, Airport Services Agent; Sammy Kiboi, Customer Sales & Service Agent; Rehana Al Harazi, Administration Supervisor; Francis Gichuru, Senior Sales Executive; and Godfrey Nyaga, Cargo Sales Executive, Emirates SkyCargo. 

To celebrate their achievement, the team provided snacks and drinks for over 250 pupils aged between three and 15.

The Emirates Airline Foundation had initially pledged to acquire land to build a new school, but no land was available close enough to the children’s homes. The Emirates team took the initiative by deciding to rebuild the classrooms in the current location to give the children a school house that was both renovated and accessible.

Make a donation