Allidina Visram High School, Mombasa

From Khoja Wiki

In 1917, after his father’s death, Abdulrasul (Allidina) Visram approached the government with a view to erecting a memorial to East Africa’s foremost businessman.

Requesting a plot of land, Abdulrasul offered to construct a much larger building and to finance its administration for the first three years.

The site selected, three and one-half acres on the headland separating the eastern shore of Mombasa Island from the mainland, was spectacular in its situation and view of the Old Town, and the Port of Mombasa.

In constructing the school Abdulrasul, despite the collapse during the war of his father’s far-filing financial empire, spared no expense. Hiring an architect from British Indiaand importing the gray stone and other materials from India, he erected a splendid two-story building of intricate design with columns, balconies, gargoyles, and floors inlaid with mosaic.

Although AbdulRasul was to die only eight months after the opening in 1923 and was never to see its development, the Allidina Visram High School proved a fitting memorial to his illustrious father.

Open to Asian boys of all creeds and castes, the school enrolled 400 pupils it's opening year. Throughout its history, despite large enrolments, the school retained general excellence. A relatively high percentage of those who took the examinations passed. In 1968, fifty-nine Allidina candidates achieved First Division Certificates in the East Africa examinations, a higher total than that of any other school.

Although it began with a large donation from an Ismaili, the school differed from the Ismaili institutions in being independent from the Aga Khan's and having a governing committee representative mainly of non-Muslims.

While emphasizing academic achievement, the school encouraged sports and other extracurricular activities. Students competed with those from other schools primarily in hockey, cricket, football, but also in volleyball, table tennis, badminton, and softball. Within the school. there was an annual sports day for all. The students could participate in as many as thirty-two clubs or sports activities ranging from the literature of various types to Boy Scouts, science, farming, band, chess, music, film, and animal protection.

They wore a school badge and tie, recited a special prayer, and had a code of ethics. There was great pride in becoming an “Allidina boy” and among the members of the Old Allidinians’ Associations, there have been many distinguished doctors, lawyers, politicians, businessman, and scientists.

Obviously, the school made a significant contribution to the development of professions in East Africa.

The Rise And Fall of Philanthropy in East Africa- The Asian Connection by Robert G. Gregory (pg. 120)

Abdul Rasul wanted to build a school in memory of his father Allidina Visram who had just died. It was supposed to be a joint project with the Verjees. We gave One Hundred Thousand Rupees (500,000 dollars in today's money). He was supposed to match it. He backed out. Said that he did not want to build an Ismaili School, but for all Indians.