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Mariamma Varkey, founder of first GEMS school, passes away

Mariamma Varkey, founder of first GEMS school, passes away

April 2, 2021

Mariamma Varkey, the founder of the first GEMS school, has passed away. She was 89. She was the mother of GEMS group founder and chairman, Sunny Varkey, and the grandmother of the incumbent chief executive officer, Dino Varkey.

Mariamma and her husband KS Varkey moved from Kerala to Dubai in 1959 and had set up a coaching centre in the Bur Dubai area. 

In an attempt to raise the status of the teaching profession and reward the best teachers working in GEMS schools, the annual Mariamma Varkey Award for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching was introduced.

In a statement, the Varkey family said, “It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Madam Mariamma Varkey … grandmother and great-grandmother, educator, pioneer and humanitarian.

Madam Varkey was a visionary educator who believed that every child deserved a great education. Driven by her enduring passion for teaching, and together with her husband, she built a legacy of education and learning in the UAE and beyond. This legacy will live on in the hearts of not only her family, but also every student that has passed through a Gems classroom in the past 60 years.”

The statement added, “Madam Varkey will first and foremost be warmly remembered as a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her humanitarian contributions focused on the learning development of girls and the advancement and recognition of teachers, with her legacy rooted in her unrelenting belief in the power of quality education to better society.

Even after she left Kerala, India in 1959, she continued to support and serve underprivileged communities in India.”

As per reports, the funeral rites of the late Mariamma Varkey will be held at Jebel Ali Marthoma church.

Also read:

Amreesh Andrew Chandra: GEMS Education’s India CEO

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