History of The Rattansi Educational Trust

Mr. Mohamedally and his Wife Maniben at in their tea Estate, Uganda 1953 The Rattansi Educational Trust was started in 1956 by Mr Mohamedally Rattansi and his wife Maniben

Mr. Mohamedally after spending over 50 years in East Africa  decided to establish an Educational Trust to help needy students. The Trust was based in Kenya where he had lived most of his life, before retiring to his farm in Uganda. The Trust established in colonial Kenya, helped all regardless of race.

The Mohamedally and Maniben Rattansi Education Trust, was established in 1956 as a result of the philanthropic thoughts of Mr. Mohamedally and his wife Maniben who strongly believed in social justice and the centrality of education in the advancement of individuals. Their vision is that “Education Lights the path to development” and the main aim of the Trust is getting Kenyans out of poverty. The Trust offers bursaries to students from poor families.

After the death of his parents, who were the founders, the late Dr. Hassanally Rattansi took over management of the Trust on July 28th,1957 and the chairmanship in 1962. A big-hearted man, Dr. Hassanally worked for the Trust with a grand sense of duty. Together with his wife Dr. Vijoo Rattansi, they devoted their lives to administering and developing the Trust.

Dr. Vijoo Rattansi took over the chairmanship after her husband's death in 2003. 

Dr. Hassanally Rattansi

Dr. Hassanally Rattansi 1921-2003Dr. Hassanally Rattansi was born in Nyeri, in a valley nestling between the Aberdares and Mt. Kenya on 14 th March, 1921. He was the fourth child, in a family of ten, of Maniben and Mohamedally Rattansi. He started his early education in a makeshift school in Nyeri. In those days, the government made no provision for Asian schools in the rural areas. In small towns, such as Nyeri, Asians typically clubbed together to hire a teacher or two from India and set up their own school. More often than not, a leading merchant would make rooms available in his house for classes.

Dr. Hassanally Rattansi took over the management of the Trust following the death of his father, Mohamedally Rattansi, on 28 th July, 1957, and the Chairmanship in 1962. He devoted his life to administering and developing the Trust, and together with his wife, Dr. Vijoo Rattansi (Mrs.), have made it into what it is today, 50 years later.

He believed that helping others opened values for him. In order to effectively do this, he sold his own business in 1987 in order to devote his energies and talents to the Trust. Even before they sold the business, Hassanally worked for the Trust with a zest only he possessed and started to realize his parents, dream. He did this free of charge and on a daily basis for sixteen years, thus fulfilling his dharmic duty.

Former Beneficiaries fond of him urged the Trust to start an endowment fund to which they would subscribe and one that will help more students to pursue education and make Hassanally's dream of eradicating poverty through education, a reality.

He believed that, “If God has given you something more than you need, whether it is money or talent, you are only a Trustee. Use what you need and give the rest to the people around you.”

Mr Mohamedally Rattansi

The history of the Mohamedally and Maniben Rattansi Educational Trust can be traced back about 150 years ago to the coming of Mohamedally Rattansi to Kenya.  Mohamedally Rattansi was born in 1882 in Chavand, a village in Kathiawar, India.  His father Rattansi Nanji, a Shia Ismaili, owned a small shop selling basic merchandise, such as salt, sugar, and dates to villagers and neighbouring farmers in India.  

When I'm Gone - Remembering Hassan Rattansi

Dr Hassan Rattansi, philanthropist, educationist, sportsman and humanist, passed away a year ago on 1 December 2003. Born in 1921 in Nyeri, he rose from running a grocery shop to managing and developing one of Kenya's best-known educational philanthropies.

For his contributions to education, the disadvantaged and sport, he received the following awards: Honorary Doctorate, Doctor of Letters from the University of Nairobi(November 1998); The Silver Star of Kenya by His Excellency the President (December 1998) Lions Club Nairobi- Host Appreciation Award (1998-99); The President's Award, Kenya (January 1999); and Honorary Doctorate, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Kenyatta University (October 2002).

Dr Hassan Rattansi was a truly remarkable Kenyan. Awaaz remembers him through eulogies written by three of his compatriots, Elkanah Odembo, Prof Godfrey Muriuki and Charles Njonjo; and his widow, Vijoo. Smile, as he would have wanted you to, as you read a few of his many rib-tickling quips.