Asian Entrepreneur Becomes Trustee of Educational Charity 'Raha International'

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British Asian Internet entrepreneur Mrs Lopa Patel MBE has become a Trustee of educational charity Raha International (Raha). Founded in February 2008 by sisters Daksha and Nimi Hirani, the principal aim of the charity is to create a sponsorship programme for the education of under-privileged children and young adults in Kenya.

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British Asian Internet entrepreneur Mrs Lopa Patel MBE has become a Trustee of educational charity Raha International (Raha). Founded in February 2008 by sisters Daksha and Nimi Hirani, the principal aim of the charity is to create a sponsorship programme for the education of under-privileged children and young adults in Kenya. Nairobi-born businesswoman Lopa Patel brings a wealth of commercial and not-for-profit experience to the role. She has extensive digital media skills and is currently the founder of award-winning lifestyle portal Redhotcurry.com which she set up in 2001. She was awarded an MBE in 2009 for services to Britain's creative industries and the South Asian community.

Speaking about the new role, Lopa said "I am extremely proud to have become a Trustee of Raha International. A good education has empowered me to build a better life and I can see that the work of Raha is helping inspire under-privileged Kenyan children to a better life too". Lopa started her career on Imperial Chemical Industries' fast-track graduate program that she joined after attaining a diploma in Computer Science and a degree from the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology. She has since run private sector businesses and in May 2008, she took up her first Public Appointment as Non-Executive Director of Becta, the government agency leading e-Learning strategy in the UK.

"I was attracted to Raha because all the workers for the charity are volunteers. This means that 100% of donated funds are currently being used to alleviate poverty, equip facilities and really go towards funding education. Raha graduates go on to become self-sufficient and are empowered to improve life for their families, siblings and communities" explained Lopa. The charity works by paying school fees, boarding, uniforms, books and other educational items for directly-sponsored children. For University students, the sponsorship programme is designed to cover the entire 3 to 6 year study period. In addition to its principal aim, Raha International also ensures the health and wellbeing of communities from which children are being sponsored by organising medical and relief camps and conducting training programs. Many of its activities are focused on HIV-positive individuals and those with disability or mobility issues.

Raha is not affiliated to any faith and does not work from a religious perspective. It is a non-partisan, non-political and non-profit making organisation. Lopa Patel's role as a Trustee will involve guidance and governance for Raha, but she also hopes to raise donations to fund wheel-chair bound 23-year old through a three-year law degree at Kenyatta University in Nairobi.

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