The Banda School is situated on Magadi Road opposite the Nairobi National Park, in the tranquil surburb of Karen.
Our international school traces its origins from Kaptagat, near Eldoret, where Mr. and Mrs. Chitty ran Kaptagat Preparatory School with 170 children from 1956.
In 1966, the Dutch Government offered to purchase the school’s property and others around it to build a farmer’s training center. After searching for a suitable place to relocate the school, the Chittys settled on the current location, which was formerly occupied by the British Army in 1942 and later, The Banda Hotel.
What’s in a name?
Kaptagat Preparatory School worked well – for a school in Kaptagat. So how about Karen Preparatory School? Not quite, for there was a training college using that very name.
Why Banda? The Banda Hotel was built of mud and wattle and roofed with makuti. In the Swahili, Indian and Malayan cultures, banda refers to a rough makuti roofed building. So what would the Chittys call their school located in the former Banda Hotel? One can only imagine that aha-moment when they thought: The Banda School, of course!
Enormous effort went into putting up this international school’s infrastructure while peacefully co-existing with the wildlife. In Jim Chittys words, “It was not uncommon to see giraffes grazing off the bushes near the pepper tree, families of warthogs taking their evening stroll and lions gazing curiously where children now wait for the bus.”
Classrooms were put up. The shoulder high grass was cut even as the workers, mostly women, shrieked every time they discovered one puff adder after another. Playing fields were levelled and the swimming pool hole was excavated. Little by little the preparatory school came together and learning began.
The Banda School officially opened its doors to twenty-four children, eight teaching staff and a Headmaster in September 1966. Today, it is among the best international schools in Kenya and one of the largest IAPS schools in the world outside the United Kingdom.