08 Oct A Dream at 10: Nairobi International School
Often we admire things that look good in life and instantly desire to have them. The shine on a diamond, the lifestyle of a Celebrity, the love between a couple, the comfort of the rich and also the power of the influential among other things, but hardly do we consider or calculate the cost of the ultimate glory. It is not a bad thing to desire these things but it is important to understand what it takes to get them and be willing to partake in the process. Before they leave you empty once you achieve them, it is also very important to have a greater purpose beyond ‘want’ or ‘me’ .
Nairobi International School was founded 10 years ago by the iconic Radhika Lee having paid an increasingly tough price in life primarily targeting her emotional being. Having survived an abusive marriage, the loss of 3 members from her immediate family, health complications with her only biological child and the ups & down of trying to make ends meet in a foreign country, the vibrant soul from Kerala, India has been unstoppable.
Radhika Lee is a free spirit with an understanding that the Almighty chatters the course of our lives. That wisdom has been a guide over the different and mostly complex stages of her life helping her accommodate each season with patience and strength. A few weeks ago, Radhika together with her entire staff and invited guests celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Africa’s first E-School, a dream she actualized with nothing but a vision and some Faith. Once she decided to pursue the urge to launch into the deep, doors were slammed on her face and even some ridiculed her along the way. Ghadhi once said that ‘first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win’ and that’s EXACTLY what happened receiving legal notices to vacate the school premise soon after opening its doors to the public and other related threats after enduring the extensive processes of getting certification and approvals in the Republic of Kenya which is no small feat.
Each step of your life is a dot connecting to another which with careful calculation make sense of your journey. In September 2007, Radhika Lee was invited to attend the Education Leadership Conference hosted by Apple Inc. in Vienna , Australia while she worked for her former employer as a teacher. She convinced the board and registered for the conference and got her Visa organized in no time. This would soon mark the beginning of a new dimension for the next 10 years of her life. It is at this conference that a spark was turned into an inferno to activate her dream and start her own school with a desire to transform how students approached learning. It is said that, exposure is the gateway to greatness. Within the very same conference, Radhika met Apple Vice- president for Education John Couch who has grown to become a close friend even gracing the recent 10 year Anniversary on his 71st Birthday. Founded by the late Steve Jobs, Apple is the first trillion dollar company and John was its 54th employee personally hand-picked by Jobs.
“Children Should be creative, not just consumers of content.”
– John Couch, Apple Vice- president for Education
Starting with 33 students on its first day of opening courtesy of parents that risked to be a part of the transformative vision, Nairobi International School now has graduates from Cambridge, University of Alberta in Canada, Curtin Institute of Technology in Perth, University of Melborne, University of Manchester etc featuring students that clinched full scholarships to some of these universities. The School boasts 3 campuses; Kindergarten, Preparatory & Senior School and Radhika Lee in her element as the planner which is being part of the process of shaping the future of her students is realizing her purpose every step of the way.
Do not despise small beginnings, and do not compare your journey with another. Someone else is dependent on the manifestation of your dreams and visions. Keep pushing until you break through for it’s not really for you, but for an entire generation. Where tomorrow begins!
Visuals Courtesy of Hatire Mohaka