500 Housing Finance sponsored artisans graduate
April 11, 2015: More than 500 artisans have graduated from a free skills training programme offered at the Alibhai Shariff Centre in Nairobi. The graduates underwent competency courses in: Carpentry, metal fabrication, painting and electrical works. The training was provided by a group of local instructors, who attended the Global Tool Trainer Certification (GTTC) at the Stanley Black and Decker University in Dubai. The programme, a public-private partnership with Housing Finance Foundation, Alibhai Shariff and the Ministry of Science, Education and Technology, is geared at addressing the gap in vocational skills in the informal sector, particularly in the construction industry. Housing Finance Managing Director Mr Frank Ireri, said, “Considering that this was the pilot phase, the training has surpassed all expectations”. Housing Finance Foundation is currently running a Vision 2030 flagship project that aims to train a million artisans by 2016. Over 250,000 artisans need to be trained each year to reach this target. “We are playing the role of active cultural architects, who have envisioned the potential of the sector, and are breaking this down into singular, achievable goals, which will ensure a greater number of people become stakeholders to this dream and enjoy its rewards,” said Alibhai Shariff & Sons Ltd Chief Executive Mr Rafiq Shariff.
Alibhai Shariff and Sons was started in 1898 in Nairobi, Kenya as a single hardware store by my great-grandfather, Alibhai Shariff. His son, Esmail Alibhai Shariff expanded the business and by his early demise at the age of 42 in 1941, the business was already a multi-branch retail and wholesale hardware business. His sons, Kabiru, Sultanali, Amirali (Chottu), Abdulla (Pilu) and my father Amir-Mohamed continued through the late 1970’s and early eighties in the same sector.
By 1984 both Noordin and Rafiq S.E.A. Shariff stepped into their father’s and uncles shoes, assuming primary control of the business. With their dynamic leadership and hard work, Alibhai Shariff has become a market leader in East Africa not only in hardware wholesale and retail, but in paint and battery manufacturing. Rafiq sits on several boards including Chase Bank Kenya and Noordin was a recent President of The Aga Khan Foundation, Kenya.