The history of the Halari Visa Oshwal Community commences from very humble beginnings and dates back to 457 B.C. when the state of Ossiya was founded and the King, ministers and a large number of soldiers and their families gave up the consumption of alcohol and meat and converted to the Jain faith.
Due to adverse natural conditions, a number of these Oshwals migrated to Sindh - now Western Pakistan in around 10th to 12th Century A.D. The conditions being no better, they then migrated to Kutch - part of the state of Gujarat. In the 16th Century A.D., following a dispute between two brothers of the ruling family, the Oshwals followed Jam Rawal who founded a settlement in the Halar District of Gujarat and set up his capital city, Jam Nagar.The Oshwals settled in 52 villages around Jam Nagar and became known as the Halari Visa Oshwals.
Looking for better economic opportunities, some Oshwals migrated to cities like Jamnagar and Mumbai. Eking out a meagre living from farming, Oshwals learnt about economic opportunities in what was then British East Africa. In the late 19th Century a large number of Halari Visa Oshwals migrated to Kenya and settled in Mombasa as traders, gradually spreading to Nairobi and other towns as the building of the railway progressed in Kenya. During the course, they also settled in Uganda and Tanzania.
In the middle of the 2nd World War, leaders of the Oshwal Community, mainly in Nairobi and Mombasa, thought of establishing a central board which would unite Oshwals throughout Kenya. They also realised the need to have a central body whose mandate would be to coordinate education and welfare activities.
On Friday 11th April 1941 the Oshwal Education & Relief Board (OERB) was formed.
Education has since played a central role in all Oshwal activities and the tremendous foresight of the visionary leaders has resulted in the prosperity of the Oshwal community in large part due to their investment in education.