Aunty Mzungu: Meet Nakuru’s Mother Teresa

Ms Rani Ramchandani a Nakuru-based philanthropist.

Photo credit: Photo I Pool

What you need to know:

  • Rani Ramchandani’s philanthropic endeavours continue to inspire and uplift communities, families and individuals.
  • Her work is leaving an enduring legacy of empathy that has seen her grateful beneficiaries accord her two monikers.

In 2000, Rani Ramchandani embarked on a journey from her home in India to join her husband in Kenya after a traditional Shadi marriage ceremony.

Little did she know that this move would mark the beginning of a remarkable philanthropic journey that would touch the lives of many Kenyans.

Rani, a Nakuru-based philanthropist, has been actively involved in charitable activities, focusing on helping needy children, people living with disabilities, and widows.

“I came to Kenya when I was a young girl. My husband was a businessman, so he was forced to jet back after our wedding. However, he arranged for my travel to join him a month later. I was that naïve girl.

“I was shocked at how people dressed, and what surprised me most was that most ladies shaved their hair, something I didn’t witness in my country,” she tells Nation.Africa, explaining the cultural shock she experienced.

The vibrant diversity of culture and language in her new environment presented a stark contrast to her familiar surroundings in India. This did not, however, deter her spirit. Instead, it sparked a desire to integrate into the community and make a positive impact.

Her journey to philanthropy began unexpectedly in 2016. While walking home one rainy evening, she encountered street children begging from passers-by.

This encounter left a lasting impression on her, prompting her to take action. The following day, armed with edibles, she sought out the children, distributing what little she had. The joy and appreciation from the children inspired her to do more.

“Growing up, I used to see my parents do social service back at home. They would donate food, clothes, books, and school uniforms to needy children and widows in schools and churches, once a month. That really motivated me. So, I just proceeded,” Rani says.

“I bought biscuits and juice and in the evening, I headed to where I had spotted them. Luckily, I found them. I distributed the little I had, and to my surprise, they really enjoyed it, despite how little it was. They even nicknamed me Aunty Mzungu.”

A chip off the old block

The small act of kindness resonated with her upbringing, where she witnessed her parents engaging in social services back in India.

Their regular donations of food, clothes, books, and school uniforms to needy children and widows left an indelible mark on her. Drawing from this inspiration, Rani continued with her philanthropic journey.

As word spread about her charitable deeds, support from friends and well-wishers poured in. This encouraged her to extend her efforts to children's homes, where she began donating food and clothes regularly.

One significant programme she initiated focused on schools in slum areas. Understanding the importance of education, she enrolled children from impoverished backgrounds in a lunch and uji (porridge) programme, ensuring they had a nutritious meal to keep them in school.

More than 4,000 children from more than 15 carefully selected schools have benefitted from this programme.

Even the challenging situation presented by Covid-19 in 2020 did not stop her from extending her generosity.

She distributed food hampers to the elderly, widows, and underprivileged families, benefitting more than 6,000 individuals.

Her philanthropic activities evolved to address the unique needs of different groups.

Her efforts extended to providing mobility devices to persons living with disabilities, including wheelchairs and crutches. Her commitment to inclusivity has earned her the nickname Mother Teresa of Nakuru.

Ms Rani Ramchandani, a Nakuru-based philanthropist, displays a sample wheelchairs she donates to the needy.

Photo credit: Richard Maosi I Nation Media Group

Her philanthropy is not confined to Nakuru but has a national reach, supporting many across the country.

“For now, we have advanced the programme, we are also running an uji programme in six schools in the interior parts of Baringo County under Rani Ramchandani Foundation. We want to keep children in school so that they can be educated and in the future help eradicate banditry,” she notes.

“We have heard of situations where girls exchange sex for pads; it’s not something they want; the situation forces them to do so. We support such too,” she says, adding that they run counselling sessions to counter mental health issues.


The foundation has distributed 28,000 sanitary pads and 21,000 books. They are currently supporting more than 27 children’s homes and old age homes with basic needs such as food, blankets, and medication.

More than 8,000 mobility devices have been distributed to children and elderly individuals with mobility challenges across the country. Additionally, she has launched a smart stick for the visually impaired, benefitting more than 40 people in Nakuru.

Despite the limelight being on her, Rani emphasises the collaborative nature of her work. Others, touched by her deeds, have offered financial support to further the initiatives.

While she remains the face of her philanthropy, the collective effort behind the scenes drives the impact.

Her journey from a young girl navigating a new culture in Kenya to the 'Mother Teresa of Nakuru' is a testament to the transformative power of kindness and compassion.

Her philanthropic endeavours continue to inspire and uplift communities, leaving an enduring legacy of generosity and empathy.