SHUJAA WETU - BROADWAY GROUP MD, BIMAL SHAH

Broadway Group of Companies Managing Director (MD) Bimal Shah

Kenya observes Mashujaa Day today, Tuesday 20th October 2020. Mashujaa is Swahili for ‘Heroes’ thus Mashujaa Day is simply the Swahili version of Heroes’ Day. 

Previously before the adoption of the 2010 constitution, the Day was celebrated as Kenyatta Day, named after Jomo Kenyatta, who was first Prime Minister and then President of Kenya. Kenyatta was a prominent campaigner for the independence of Kenya from British rule.

It is a public holiday to honour all Kenyans who have contributed towards the struggle for Kenya’s independence. The day is typically commemorated to celebrate past and present heroes who have contributed, those who have sacrificed greed, selfishness, personal comfort and advancement at the altar of the greater good of the general public and the nation at large.

Kenya has so many of such heroes and Thika to has not lagged behind in bringing up such Mashujaas.

One such Shujaa is Broadway Group of Companies Managing Director (MD) Bimal Shah and the man who has held the company's mantle since the demise of his father who founded the company.

Broadway is a household name within the region, both in business and community service. Located in the heart of the Industrial Area of Thika, the company has been in operation since 1958

Bimal Shah was born in Thika over 70 years ago and has lived in the town all his life. He is an alumni of Gatumaini Primary School and Chania High School.

For over five decades, the Broadway Group which constitute of Broadway Bakery, Bakex Millers and Capwell Industries Ltd. have always been assisting needy and vulnerable persons residing in Thika with food rations, education scholarships and other humanitarian aids. 

BROADWAY HIGH SCHOOL

The Broadway family has assisted in building Broadway High School, a public secondary school at the heart of the sprawling Kiandutu slums that is supported by the family as  development partners.  

So far, they have built tuition blocks, laboratories and a modern library block, geared towards enhancing teaching standards in the school. They are currently constructing 24 wash basins at a cost of KES. 500,000 to assist the government in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

They also plan to set up 4 more classrooms to assist students maintain the recommended social distance during lessons.

The current student population at Broadway High School is now 1000. 

The company also sponsors bright students for university education once having completed their high school.

Four of their scholars are already working at the company after completing university studies. Several others have been employed in various fields both in government and in the private sector.

Every December, they accommodate Form 3 and 4 students to work in their company as a way to instill the working culture and also assist them raise some money for their own use in school and at home.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

However, at no other given time has the Broadway Group come out so evidently to assist than during the 9 months the country grappled with the adverse socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the President Uhuru Kenyatta appealed to Kenyans of goodwill to come out and assist fellow Kenyans affected by the pandemic, the Broadway family set aside KES. 25 million for the mission to be shared between the national and county governments.

Out of this, they gave Kiambu County Government KES. 5 million towards the county Rapid COVID-19 Response programme as well as 1,000 bales of maize flour to feed about 6,000 families.

They also donated another 9,000 bales of maize flour to 18 other counties across the country, each getting 500 bales to feed 3,000 families each.

ADOPT-A-VILLAGE

Later, the Broadway family joined in the Kiambu County Government initiative dubbed "Adopt-A-Village, Feed A Family" where they adopted 200 needy and vulnerable families within Thika West Sub-County to feed them for the next 3 months from July 2020 to October 2020.

The Visa Oshwal Community then joined in and adopted another 300 families for the same period.

Each family received 32kg of food ration per month which basically included all the food necessities. 

The company has also been feeding about 100 families whose breadwinners have been living with terminal diseases.

The family insists that in case the COVID-19 situation does not improve, they are ready to continue assisting these families and others who might find themselves in need of food assistance.

However, Bimal insists that food donations might not be a sustainable solution to the people's problems and thus says that they are ready as a family and as a business community, to assist the County Government of Kiambu to buy fertilizers and seeds that can be distributed to 3,500 people to plant in their own home gardens and farms.

ASSISTING IN HEALTH SERVICES

The company also supports a number of other medical, environmental and social support programmes in the country. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Broadway Group donated 100 beds and mattresses worth KES. 1.5 million to Wangige Hospital in Kiambu County.

BROADWAY GROUP

Broadway Group of Companies (Broadway, Bakex and Capwell) have directly employed  850 employees. 

Bimal says that none of them was laid off during this hard COVID-19 period.

BIMAL'S PARTING SHOT

Bimal insists that money is not everything in business. He calls upon other businesspersons to work to improve the lives of the people around them and those who give them business.

He also advises Thika residents to keep off retrogressive politics that only end up ruining their lives.

"Politics come and go but we all have a life to live. As residents of Thika, we should desist from politicians out to cause conflict among the people. Politicians should help to improve the lives of the people they lead. Too much politics only ruins the lives of the people. Let's all think about how we can grow our agricultural and industrial sectors," he says.


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