Sunny Varkey

COURTESY Jon Bramley
RELATIONSHIP: Mr Sunny Varkey, Chairman and Founder of GEMS Education

I want to tell the story of Mr Sunny Varkey, Chairman and Founder of GEMS Education. His dedication and passion for delivering quality education for all children are indeed an inspiration to us all.

Sunny Varkey arrived in Dubai with his mother and sister when he was still a very young child. His parents had Answered a general call from The late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum to help teach English in the UAE.
Varkey’s father, Mr KS Varkey, began teaching bank workers English reading and writing and later took on younger students.

With the help of his impressive wife, Madam Mariamma Varkey, the pair opened their first school— Our Own English School, in 1968. They began educating many of the country’s future influential personalities.

By 1980, Sunny Varkey had come of age, and Our Own English School was thriving. He played a role in all aspects of his parents’ school, including driving the school bus. He also nurtured a broader, ambitious vision to broaden educational opportunities for the children throughout UAE and beyond.

Today, many of us can see Varkey’s remarkable journey in some of the leading schools in the UAE, run by GEMS Education. Currently, the organisation runs 43 schools throughout the UAE and is considered the most prominent private education provider.

Varkey regards the UAE as his home, and the company’s operations are run from Dubai. Furthermore, Varkey’s sons, Dino and Jay, also hold important executive roles in GEMS.

Sadly, Madam Mariamma passed away recently (March 2021) after a long and enriching educational career in the UAE, leaving a legacy of offering world-class education to several generations of UAE children - That, according to Varkey, is “the greatest gift of all.”

His daily examples of dedication and passion for delivering a quality education for all children are indeed an inspiration to us all.

The core values of humility, perseverance and kindness.

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