As part of its ongoing commitment towards global education, Etihad Airways has renovated three schools in the remote areas of Kakamega County in western Kenya to create a brighter future for underprivileged children.
A senior delegation from Etihad Airways visited Kenya to officially open the Likuyani primary school, nursery and special needs boarding school. The much-improved facilities, with a student capacity of 1,700, were handed over to the school's administration after a year of building repairs and improvement work.
The comprehensive project included refurbishment of the schools' infrastructure including classrooms and staff rooms, and the construction of a new playground, dining hall, kitchen and lavatories for both boys and girls.
In addition, the schools were also supported with new uniforms and shoes for students. This will help students who used to walk to school barefoot causing foot injuries. The renovation will improve hygiene and reduce the number of hygiene-related illnesses that the students and staff are currently suffering from.
Madhad Obeid Al Saher, Diplomatic Attaché from UAE Embassy in Kenya joined the Etihad Airways delegation headed by Khaled Al Mehairbi, Senior Vice President of Government and Aero-political Affairs. The delegation also included Ali Al Shamsi, Vice President of Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Hub, and Joan Mwaniki, Etihad Airways' General Manager Kenya, along with the airline's Abu Dhabi and Nairobi-based staff.
Rael Ruto, wife of the current Vice President of Kenya, Hon. William Ruto, and Chairperson of Joyful Women's Organisation-Kenya, accompanied the Etihad Airways' delegation during their one-day visit. Nearly 1,700 care packages with school bags and stationery were distributed, while 20 wheelchairs and blankets were provided to the special needs boarding school.
Rael Ruto, said, "I want to personally thank the entire Etihad Airways family for this generous contribution, which has made a big difference in the lives of the Likuyani Primary School students. We appreciate your great support and commitment to the education of the underprivileged. As a result of your kindness and generosity, students now have modern facilities, a playground for the little ones, and conveniences for the students living with disabilities.
"We shared our dreams for Likuyani Primary with Etihad Airways, now the rest is history. Thank you Etihad Airways."
Principal Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Dr. Belio Kipsang, General Manager of Philips E.A , Mary Kuria and other senior officials representing banks and tourism entities also took part in the community event.
Khaled Al Mehairbi, who also serves as Chairman of Etihad Airways' Sports and Social Committee, said, "As the UAE flag carrier, we are socially committed towards improving global education and creating a brighter future for the underprivileged children. We extend our thanks to the Etihad Airways team, sponsors and suppliers for their support of the project. Collectively, we have improved the students' learning environment which will help them pursue their studies."
Abdul Razak Mohamed Hadi, UAE Ambassador to Kenya, stressed that the UAE continues to maintain a strong humanitarian presence in addition to supporting relief efforts in the wake of natural disasters anywhere in the world.
"I would like to sincerely thank the Government of Kenya represented by Rael Ruto, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Etihad Airways' family and everyone who helped bring this project together. This project will no doubt cement the growing relations between two brotherly nations." he added.
The UAE Ambassador to Kenya valued the cooperation of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in supporting education, health and water supply among other projects in the different parts of Kenya.
The renovation project was funded by money raised through a series of charitable initiatives that took place in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with the Emirates Red Crescent, including two events - ‘Run for a Cause' and the 2nd Etihad Airways World Aviation Football Cup.
The Airline's initiative to support Kenya is part of an earlier agreement on humanitarian and social cooperation between Etihad Airways and Emirates Red Crescent. Over the last four years Etihad Airways supported education for children in need in Yemen, Morocco and Sri Lanka.