Dr. Vijoo Rattansi completed secondary education in 1964 and obtained an Oxford and Cambridge Certificate. She went into a ladies fashion business in 1964, under the name of Italian Handicrafts. Vijoo grew this business and later on sold it when she went to join her husband, Dr. Hassan M. Rattansi in his business, The Nairobi Sports House which was started in 1948.
After many years of running the business, the couple sold it in 1987 when they realized the huge gap required in bringing up young Kenyans to take up positions of academics in higher learning institutions, corporate management and governance in the country. They decided to give their full time to help develop the lives of the youth of Kenya by personally managing their family foundation, The Rattansi Educational Trust.
Since 1956 when the Rattansi Educational Trust was founded, along her husband, Dr. Vijoo has endeavoured to support young Kenyans in achieving their dreams to complete their studies at Universities, middle level colleges and medical institutions. Dr Vijoo extended her philanthropic work to become one of the founder Trustees of the Kenya Childhood Cancer Trust and is the current Chair of the Board.
MEMBERSHIP OF ORGANIZATIONS.
- 1999 to date – A trustee of Sir Michael Blundell Trust.
- 2003 to date – Allavida and Kenya Social Investment Exchange (KSix).
- 2003 to date – A trustee of Kenya Community Development Fund (KCDF).
- 2004 to 2007 – Board of East Africa Association of Grant Makers (EAAG).
- 2006 to date – Board of Governors, Highway Secondary School.
- 2007 to date – A trustee of Flying Doctors’ Society .
- 2008 to 2015 – Chairman of Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund.
- 2012 to date – Board of the Centre for Africa Families Studies.
- 2012 – Slums Information Development and Resource Centre (SIDERAC).
- A trustee of Northern Kenya Education Fund.
- 2013 to date – Chancellor of the University of Nairobi.
- 2015 to date – Chair of the Board of the Kenya Childhood Cancer trust.
ACHIEVEMENTS / PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND
Dr. Vijoo has been guided by compassion for the vulnerable which was displayed in her association with these organizations.
- As a trustee of the Kenya Community Development Fund, Dr. Vijoo has championed making grants to marginalized and disadvantaged communities in an effort to empower them. Moreover, through her skills in resource mobilization, KCDF has seen its assets grow from US $1 million in 2004 to US $9 million in 2014.
- Through Allavida and Kenya Social Investment Exchange, Dr. Vijoo has contributed in transforming the livelihoods of the poor and marginalized people in Africa.
- She has contributed in enabling the youth to lead decent lives on a sustainable basis through the Slums Information Development and Resource Centre that operates in the slums to build youth leadership for community service, and by providing information and opportunities.
- Through her work in East Africa Association of Grant Makers, Dr. Vijoo promotes sustainable development and social justice through nurturing the culture of philanthropy by mobilizing local resources for grant making to needy causes.
- Dr. Vijoo chaired an organization called Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund which is a global charity whose mission is to improve provision of care for children with retinoblastoma eye cancer and to provide support for their families. Indeed in this regard, the College of Health Sciences University of Nairobi has greatly benefited from Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund through provision of medical equipment to deal with retinoblastoma and establishment of laboratories for digital scanning and processing of all cancer tissues. And finally, the Fund has also facilitated the training of a multi-disciplinary cohort of about 70 doctors and technicians besides linking Toronto University with Nairobi.
- Dr Vijoo was one of the founding members of the Kenya Childhood Cancer Trust, an organization that was founded after the Daisy Eye Cancer Fund in Kenya finalized its activities. KeCCT was formed in the recognition that all children with cancer in Kenya ought to benefit from improved care.
In recognition of her dedication to philanthropy and service to the community, the Kenya Government awarded Dr. Vijoo the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) in 2006.
In the same year, Moi University conferred her with the Honorary Doctorate And in 2013, Dr. Vijoo was appointed Chancellor of the University of Nairobi and was reappointed for a second term in 2019.
In recognition of her philanthropy and charitable work, the Senate and Council decided to confer Dr. Vijoo Rattansi the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa)