My journey at the Aga Khan Academy


(Current status: Student, Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, Kenya)

I wrote the poem, below, about my journey at the Mombasa Aga Khan Academy in commemoration of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Aga Khan Academies (AKA) are a system of schools being built up by Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, in nations across South and Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East. With an emphasis on the Approaches to Teaching and Learning (ATL) strategies and skills that permeate the International Baccalaureate (IB) teaching and learning environment, the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, is the first to be propelled by Mawlana Hazar Imam’s vision that education provided at the academies should enable young people to develop the capacity to become future leaders of civil society.

Aga Khan Academy Photo-Mombasa-Premises-7lThe Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, Kenya, inaugurated in 2003. Photo: The Aga Khan Academies.

Two others academies are operating in Hyderabad, India, and Maputo, Mozambique. Eventually the network of Academies will form a global learning community of 14,000 boys and girls studying at 18 schools in 14 countries. Each year, approximately 1500 exceptional students will graduate from these academies. 

I have a hidden love for poetry, and it is my desire to use the literary medium to educate and enlighten readers around the world about my school, and how it has positively contributed towards my development as a person. The poem also reflects the skills my beloved 49th Imam wishes us to attain, and shows what an institution created by the Imam is like. As a young man, I hope that readers will support me in my passion for poetry. 


My Journey


Ziyaan Virji Flower 2s

Like a seed that would never grow into a plant,
I came

Although a fruitful seed,
never exploited to the correct necessities

No proper soil or water,
until came a point where they said I have no possibilities
But then light shone on me,
it was time to reclaim

With good teachers and facilitators,
soil and water was gradually provided
Through the affable people,
I adjusted

Facilities and opportunities wouldn’t be regarded
as a need anymore

 A seedling I grew as,
something they would adore

Aga Khan visits Academy Staff in Mombasa s

Like the detrimental pests,
came the emotional breakdowns too

But with the joyful environment created,
I would simply breakthrough

AKA strands, ATL skills,
Profiles and Attributes,

was the regular water
I would intake to be the best of me

Although I’m just a unique seedling
in this colossal garden,

away from my original roots,
but the pluralistic and diversity present in every recruit,
wouldn’t allow anyone to use family as a madden

Through the constant motivation and leadership opportunities,
I’ve grown

I’ve grown into a young plant
from a seed that once was equal to a stone

Through the good nurturing,
I’ve cultivated into a plant that stands up for himself

But that’s not where it ends

Ziyaan Virji Flower 1s

Although I’ve become a young plant
With many leaves and flowers,
I’ve to face the world,
The world that will step on me
And the world that will adore me
I will strive to become enormous one day,
and when I do

Just like my gardener taught me,
I will emanate back to where my roots really are
And ripen my garden into a huge forestry one day

Date posted: June 10, 2017.


Ziyaan Virji, Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, KenyaBorn and raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 15 year old Ziyaan Aalkarim Virji currently studies at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya. As a sportsman he plays many games and his favourite are badminton, cricket and soccer. His hobbies include drawing, composing sonnets and watching documentaries. He also likes dressing-up and taking pictures of himself, everyone around him and the environment.

His favourite subject is Mathematics and he is particularly interested in the actuarial profession. Ziyaan says that there is talent everywhere but that opportunities are not. He feels that through the good fortune that he has to study at an educational establishment like the Aga Khan Academy, he will be able to open doors for himself for his future well-being as well as have opportunities to serving society at large. 


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  1. Well written Ziyan, may all your dreams come true. Reach for the stars, you can do it, you can do anything in this world with the grace of Mowla. I wish you all the best! Keep up the good work!


  2. Keep it up Ziyaan. Soar high and reach the stars. May you achieve your dreams and remember to encourage and help others to achieve theirs. Great poem, well articulated. Wish you best for future.


  3. A beautiful poem Ziyaan, so well articulated about your journey which is in itself special. May the rest of your journey be filled with success, happiness and learning and may your garden grow into a luscious forest.


  4. Well done Ziyaan, heads up for your family’s upbringing and may the gift of Mawla remain in your heart and in your life forever.


  5. Congratulations on being a student at the beautiful Mombasa Aga Khan Academy and writing such a spirited poem. Wishing you well for the future!


  6. So beautifully articulated. I do hope and pray that you touch the stars in your pursuit of knowledge and spiritual endeavours.


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