Meet Glain Naneu Kimer; the first female pilot from Kajiado County

Glain Naneu

“I had never been in an aircraft before not even as a passenger. But the first time I flew one, it just felt so good and naturally right because being a pilot is something I personally chose to pursue. I felt free and in control of everything,” says Glain Naneu Kimer the first female pilot in Kajiado .

Born and raised in Olotopiro village in Kajiado West, Naneu’s journey to becoming a pilot is full of resilience and intentionality. She says her career path didn’t come as an afterthought or last resort but driven by passion to sway the heights.

“As young children we used to look up whenever a plane passed by and it just felt like I too belonged to the skies. I wanted to experience it and the feeling stuck by me all through my primary school and high school. I didn’t really have anyone from my family or anyone I knew who was in that field, but it was just something I really really wanted to do and I wanted to know more about it as well. I can say it was just passion,” she explained during an interview.

She says her supportive parents and her mentor Captain Mercy Makau, the founder and president of the Young Aviators Clubs of Africa, played a key role in shaping her path. Naneu explains that her mentor was a classmate of her mother. She met her during a mentorship program that was taking place at her primary school. Naneu says the mentor walked with her all through her primary and high-school and all through her accomplishments.

“My mother’s schoolmate Captain Mercy was a mentor to me. She came for a mentorship session in my primary school and requested whoever wanted to do flying could get to set up a meeting with her and I took the opportunity. She mentored me the whole way to the extent of advising my parents and my family to let me take a degree course as well because that was going to boost my chances of getting to the skies. I followed through and got a degree course in East Africa School of Aviation and also a degree in Civil Aviation Management, which I completed in 2022. And now am a certified private pilot working on to get my commercial pilot license which is the bigger dream,” she proudly remarks.

Passion driven as she was and getting to where she is at the moment didn’t come easily. Just like any other career path, Naneu says she passed through her share of hurdles that she says partly continue to be a limiting factor to the heights she still wants to reach.

” Part of the reason as to why I have not yet completed my commercial license is financial constraint. It’s very, very expensive because you need around seven million Kenya shillings for you to complete an aviation course and get your commercial license. And coming from a rural and not so well-off background, the hurdle tightens. Because I’m not alone at home, I have my siblings too so it’s very constraining to my parents to support me. Yet they did what they could and am grateful, “she says.

Naneu adds that leveraging on her community’s good will made way for her during her studies. She had two fundraisers which at least aided her to get to where she is today.

Glain Naneu

Glain Naneu

“I have had two fundraisers in our area and the people were more than willing to help. I can say they are all so supportive. They have not seen someone who holds on to their passion all the way. It was something quite impressive to them. And I believe If you say and speak your dream, you’re going to eventually get people who believe in it too and walk with you,” says Naneu.

Her passion driven ambition and the success she’s had so far made her want to create the same reality to other girls and women in her community to have the same boldness to dream big. She founded a community-based organization called Omom Elite. Omom means favor in Maasai.  The organisation consists of a group of accomplished youths and women who do mentorship sessions in schools targeting grade 4 to grade 8 pupils, both girls and boys. They also extend the sessions to the community in general having talks on the importance of education.

“There’s less mentorship in our rural Maasai area, where girls do not see the importance of taking on these big courses. This drove me to start the organisation where we just talk to the community on why it is actually important for them to take their girls to school. Their life shouldn’t end at just going to look after their cattle or just staying at home. There is more to life than just that,” says Naneu.

The reception so far has been positive, says Naneu, adding that there has been an improvement in even the performance of the pupils at school.

“There is more goodwill from the community. They want to take their children to school and the children themselves want to go too. And just last year, a local school we were working with had its top 9 pupils as girls in their national examinations and this for me is progress, “she says.

Naneu continues to strive to get her much wanted license to fly commercial planes. She has settled her mind to being a commercial pilot. Commercial pilots train as private pilots, which allows them to learn the basics of flying before progressing into more complicated planes and situations.

“I am accumulating my hours to get my commercial license. I want to be a commercial pilot. I say every year I go, I want to fly the big planes. I want to fly an Airbus. I don’t think there is another dream for me. I just wanted to be a commercial pilot. Because there is a feeling of joy when you go somewhere and you get referred to as a pilot.  It just feels very, very good being referred to as a pilot. And probably it might get to a point where I want not to just do commercial flying, but maybe also settled and have my family.  My degree’s will still count because aviation is all that I wanted to do,” Naneu proudly says.

She encourages the girls and women to be bold enough to push and pursue their dreams. Naneu also has extended a helping hand to the ones who might need her help and guidance in the field of aviation.

“And for the girls that are following me, everything is possible. Don’t look at the challenges but take advantage of the opportunities availed to you in terms of mentorship and scholarships. And I am also available to mentor and to talk to anyone who wants to come to the industry, “she encourages.

Naneu believes she has already started to curve her legacy being referred to as the first female pilot in Kajiado County.

“Naneu will be remembered for a lot of things especially being the first female pilot in my area. A lot of people don’t know me by my name, they know me as a pilot, so that is one thing that I will be remembered about. And it’s something that I have made sure of because I saw a need, for it,” she concludes.


One thought on “Meet Glain Naneu Kimer; the first female pilot from Kajiado County

  1. Jackie

    Wow impressive and a very inspiring story. Continue soring to higher hight girl ❤️.

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