Richard Long is a licensed insolvency practitioner and former president of his professional body.
The Kenya Society allows Richard to meet numerous fellow members with a love and connection with Kenya and also to hear gifted speakers on a variety of subjects that impact on Kenya. Through the society he has been able to meet senior people at the High Commission. He thoroughly recommends anyone who has a love for Kenya to join.
Richard’s involvement with Kenya came because he is an accomplished photographer and during a once in a lifetime visit to the Maasai Mara in March 2003, He visited the Mara Rianda Primary School. At the school he met the then head teacher who proudly showed him around. The school had less than 250 pupils and the facilities provided to the pupils were very basic. In some rooms there were four pupils to a desk. All the text books were falling apart but were cherished by those using them.
Richard asked the head teacher what the school needed. He looked at him, pondered and then said, “If you mean by a miracle we need chalk, white chalk, coloured chalk, pens, pencils, rulers, exercise books …… “, and so he went on. His simple request shocked Richard: “Chalk would be a miracle”. Richard shared those words with many friends and colleagues and they became a by-line for fund raising to support the school.
The Mara Rianda Charitable Trust a UK Charity was formed, it supports the Mara Rianda Primary School and local community. Amongst numerous other things, it has provided the provision of fresh water to two primary schools, funding the building of classroom blocks and a new school at Enkereri at another local village. In 2019 it funded the completion of a girls dormitory together with beds for 160 girls.
It also funds the supply of five teachers and has to date funded the secondary education for over 130 students at seven different schools. In the community it has funded the building of a maternity centre and also a medical centre with separate wards for men, women and children.
The Charity prides itself on having not undertaken any fund raising activities, support comes voluntary from many people around the world who here about the charity and are touched by the needs of the community and wish to help.
No funds are used to meet any overheads or salaries in running the charity. The directors and trustees work without any remuneration or salary. In Kenya Governors’ Camp provide the local logistics and Deloitte maintain the local funds.
Fifteen years and 37 visits to Kenya later his was certainly not a once in a lifetime visit!