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S. M. Shah Nyahururu Scholarship (SMSNS)

Rajeev Shah (left, son of Mr. J. V. Shah who is one of the Trustees and a Strathmore School alumnus) and the late Mr. S. M. Shah (right)

 

On 2nd January 2021, Strathmore University entered into a 10 year Kshs 25 Million Scholarship sponsorship with the SM Shah Trust. The scholarship program bearing the title S. M. Shah Nyahururu Scholarship (SMSNS) will be awarded to one bright and needy student every year for 10 years, for the study of an undergraduate degree in Informatics and Computer Science.

The scholarship has been established in honour and memory of Shantilal Mohanlal Shah (S. M. Shah) who, after migrating to Kenya on a boat from India in 1923 when he was 18 years old, made his fortune in Nyahururu.

S. M. Shah was the oldest of 6 boys and times were hard with financial pressures for the family. His mother passed away when he was very young, with responsibility resting on his father, who was a headmaster in Porbandar (Gujrat, India), to raise all the boys. Upon encouragement from well-wishers, his father sent him to a foreign land with a view of earning money to support the family. As a result, he could not finish his matriculation.

After arriving in Kenya, he settled at Thompson’s Falls (now named Nyahururu). Without any educational qualifications, he could not land himself a job. He therefore had to strike out on his own. Amidst great hardship, he and a partner, another Indian immigrant, G. H. Patel, started a small retail business and gradually expanded this into multiple business enterprises all around Thompson Falls. They worked arduously and lived meagrely all their lives. Both spent the last twenty years of their lives in altruistic endeavours. S. M. Shah worked just as hard for noble causes as he did during his working life to utilize all his hard-earned savings for the benefit of the poorest members of society.

He was deeply affected by the crushing poverty that he saw in Bhavnagar, a small Indian town, where he had retired to. His two mottos as per his public utterances and private family conversations were:

  1. Service to mankind is service to God.
  2. Utilise wealth for the maximum benefit of the maximum number of people.

During his lifetime he donated generously to educational and health institutions. He died of a heart attack at the age of 88 years in India. As per his wishes and directives to family members, ALL his remaining assets have to be utilized for the benefit of the poorest and underprivileged.

The SM Shah Trustees believe that their donation to Strathmore University honours the founder’s wishes and his memory. It is his family’s fervent hope and prayer that scholarship recipients will also follow the life example of S. M. Shah and continue supporting his scholarship programme for the needy at Strathmore.

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