#HumansCare | Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Founder & Chair of Trustees, Randal Charitable Foundation
In this #HumansCare story, we’re talking to Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, business leader, entrepreneur, influencer and philanthropist and Founder and Chair of Trustees of The Randal Charitable Foundation, which has previously supported our work with unpaid carers in Bangladesh. The Randal Charitable Foundation’s vision is to directly save lives, help the socially disadvantaged and significantly improve the quality of life for those in need in the UK and around the world.
We spoke with Dr Kotecha about what led him to set up the Randal Charitable Foundation along with his wife Moni, why the vision of the foundation is so important to his family, what made the foundation want to support the work of Carers Worldwide.
Hi! Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I was born in East Africa and came over to the UK as a young child.
Growing up with a very humble upbringing in Leicester, I was fortunate to receive a local County Council grant, which enabled me to attend university, and from there to forge a career. This led me to establishing Morningside Pharmaceuticals in the 1990s from our home garage and travelling extensively around the world as it grew from a start-up to a large corporate over 30 years. In 2022 I stepped back from Morningside Pharmaceuticals in order to devote more of my time to my philanthropic endeavours.
In 2017 myself and my wife Moni, founded the Randal Charitable Foundation, which I am very proud to say has directly saved over 150,000 lives so far and significantly improved more than 372,000 in the UK and globally.
I sit on a number of regional and national board & advisory groups and regularly support and advise central Government on international trade, innovation, life sciences and social justice topics.
The Randal Foundation’s vision is to directly save lives, help the socially disadvantaged and significantly improve the quality of life for those in need. Why is this so important to you and your family?
My family came to the UK 50 years ago as refugees, after the Ugandan Asian community were expelled from the African nation by the Dictator, Idi Amin. As a young child I still remember what it felt like to be hungry and homeless. We came to the UK with nothing but a few suitcases of belongings, after losing our complete way of life.
We were very fortunate to be given a new home in the United Kingdom and I will forever be indebted to the kindness of others, who helped ensure we were able to start a new life together in safety. During this time my family became separated for several months and it was with the help of an international aid organisation that we were reunited.
From my childhood and business experiences I have followed my passion for helping others, giving back, and have worked extensively with large UN Aid agencies, charities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to provide international aid to low- and middle-income countries. I have also been privileged to take on a number of board and advisory positions for business, government and charitable bodies in the UK. Through this work I have seen many opportunities in the UK and globally, to save and improve lives.
These life experiences and our passion for helping to save lives globally, led to my wife Moni and I founding the Randal Charitable Foundation in 2017. Our ambition with the Foundation is to save and significantly improve the quality of life of over 1 million people around the world.
What are you most proud of at The Randal Foundation?
I am very proud of the UK and global impact that the Randal Charitable Foundation has had on our primary focus, which is to directly save lives, as well as to significantly improve the quality of life of people in the UK and around the world.
Going forward, the Randal Charitable Foundation will be much more than a grant giving entity. The Foundation has a social conscience and an overriding ambition to make the world a better place, by addressing the causes of many of the healthcare and social ills in society, as well as breaking the seemingly eternal cycle of global poverty.
We are doing this by focussing on a number of core areas which include: the development of healthcare & mental healthcare; the prevention and relief of addiction & poverty; and the advancement of education.
Some of our most impactful grants include:
British Asian Trust (International)
The biggest project the Foundation supported was to donate £500,000 to the British Asian Trust’s Emergency Appeal. This quite literally saved 130,000 lives in India, by providing free emergency food/health kits over a 4 month period to people fleeing the cities for their rural homes during the height of the Covid pandemic lockdowns there, with little or no access to government support. In spring 2021 the Foundation made an additional significant donation to install a PSA Oxygen Generator Plant for a 550 bed Indian hospital to provide free sustainable oxygen to treat patients during the Covid-19 second wave, and for the years ahead.
The Ugandan Red Cross (International)
The Randal Charitable Foundation in 2022 provided very significant grant funding towards a manufacturing plant for re-usable menstrual hygiene sanitary pads that will create employment opportunities for vulnerable girls and women who will be up-skilled to make and market the pads. The facility in Namakwa, Mukono district of Uganda, is targeted to significantly improve the lives of 50,000 women and girls within 12 months. The grant is so beneficial to the community because without access to good menstrual materials and private toilets, or washrooms for changing, girls and women often become trapped in their homes unable to attend school or earn a living. It will also provide a sustainable source of income for many.
Hope Against Cancer (UK)
The Foundation provided a significant grant towards the charity’s £1.5m project to double the size of the Clinical Trials Facility at Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI). The new facility is now directly saving lives, as it offers local people with cancer the opportunity to participate in clinical trials and is one of only a few outside of London where people can take part in research to help develop new cancer drug treatments.
At Carers Worldwide, we are committed to achieving recognition and support for family carers and the Randal Charitable Foundation has helped us do that. What made you want to join us and support our work?
At the Randal Charitable Foundation we’re passionate about the advancement of primary and secondary healthcare in lower- and middle-income countries.
The Foundation is a proud supporter of Carers Worldwide because of the charity’s great work in South Asia to highlight the important role played by unpaid family carers and advocate for their inclusion into mainstream development programmes.
In 2020 we were pleased to provide grant funding to cover the full costs of operating two existing Community Caring Centres in Savar, Bangladesh for 12 months, which supported 24 children with disabilities and their 24 unpaid carers.
How important do you think it is that we achieve a global change in attitude to the role of caring?
Family carers are very often an invisible army of people providing a vital service to society; yet their own needs are routinely ignored. The Randal Charitable Foundation is pleased to support Carers Worldwide, which is working to address this.
Unpaid carers play a very important role across the globe, as they are often the force that works endlessly to support the most vulnerable in society. Organisations like Carers Worldwide play an essential role in ensuring they receive the support and recognition they deserve.
And finally…what one thing would you take with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
A picture of my family, as they keep me grounded, and without their support and love, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.