Mombasa's Newest Footprints

13 March 2011

Arrival of nine Tajik students to the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa.

The recent arrival of nine Tajik students to the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa has further enriched the school’s cultural diversity. The students: Alisher Abdumamadov; Alisher Kukanbekov; Zarina Mamadbekova; Jonbegim Mukhtor; Muslima Niyozmamadova; Nafisa Rahimjonova; Shukufa Sultonmamad; Zuhal Suhrob; and Ganjina Vanjova came from Khorog, Tajikistan where they attended the Aga Khan Lycee.

Their arrival is part of a pilot project between the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa and the Aga Khan Lycee, Tajikistan. The project began in April 2010 and lasted until February 2011. Its purpose? To give students from the Lycee an opportunity to attend the Academy as boarding students with the intention of completing the IB primary, middle, and diploma programmes and serving as future leaders in Central Asia.

The selection process began last September when the Dean of Admissions, Paul Davis, and members of the admissions team spent one week at the Lycee assessing applicants. The process included a three day leadership camp that focused on analyzing skill sets such as problem solving, creativity, and physical pursuits.

After interviews and short listing of candidates, nine students were offered a place at the Academy. Their acceptance was conditional to attendance at a three month orientation program, which included the study of English literature, math, ICT, research and problem solving skills and an introduction into Kenya’s culture, including that of the Ismaili community. The students spent two hours, everyday, including Saturdays for the last three months to complete the program. The orientation also included sports and games and weekly excursions in and around Khorog. Prior to their travel from Khorog to Mombasa, the students and their families were treated to a farewell celebration that included government officials, AKES staff, their teachers and their classmates. They were also given a tour of the Ismaili Center by AKDN resident Munir Merali.

At 12 years old, the selected students left their families and communities in Khorog and traveled for the first time out of their country. After a 13 hour Jeep ride from Khorog to Dushanbe, they boarded a plane and flew to Mombasa, with stopovers in Istanbul and Nairobi. Upon landing in Mombasa, they were warmly greeted by the Dean of Students, Mr. Naheed Bardai and the Residential Orientation team.

The nine Tajik students have joined ten other newly arrived grade six students from Kenya, Congo and Tanzania into the Academy residential program. After the residential orientation weekend, they began their classes, joined clubs and have already had a taste of the Old town of Mombasa. We wish them all a successful and enjoyable experience at the Academy.