Vijay Eswaran, Malaysian entrepreneur and Executive Chairman of the QI (Quest International Group) and controlling shareholder of Sri Lankan blue chip Asia Capital, features among the top 48 philanthropists in Forbes Asia’s annual list of Heroes of Philanthropy in the region.
The list features some of Asia-Pacific’s most high-profile and interesting givers to society. Four philanthropists were picked from each of the 12 markets in the region. Vijay Eswaran features as one of the four from Malaysia alongside Vincent Tan, Koon Yew Yin, and the husband & wife team of Angela & Hijjas Kasturi. Those featured from India include Shiv Nadar and Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi.
Vijay Eswaran, who comes from a family of philanthropists, has been deeply involved in a number of charitable projects worldwide through his two foundations – RYTHM and its Malaysian chapter, the Vijayaratnam Foundation. While the RYTHM Foundation, registered in Hong Kong is involved in various initiatives globally in the areas of education, disaster relief, children and community development, the Vijayaratnam Foundation, which Eswaran established in honour of his philanthropist father, is involved in youth and women empowerment, arts, culture, child mentoring and environment protection projects in Malaysia.
RYTHM Foundation has been involved in rehabilitation projects for some of the most devastating natural disasters in recent times such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, the Central Java earthquake in Indonesia in 2006, the Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines in 2010 and most recently the floods in coastal Sri Lanka. Vijayaratnam Foundation is well known for its project Footprints, a mentoring program for children in orphanages, Maharani, a series of educational & empowerment camps focused on adolescent girls from under privileged backgrounds and Taarana, a centre for children with learning disabilities.
In Sri Lanka, Vijay Eswaran has been actively involved in the Foundation of Goodness (FOG), an organization that aims to narrow the gap between urban and rural life by tackling poverty through productive activities, and in 2007 donated the only paediatric laparoscopy machine in Sri Lanka to the Lady Ridgeway Hospital. As part of its Tsunami Rehabilitation efforts, Eswaran’s RYTHM Foundation set up a team of volunteers to distribute relief material in affected regions in Sri Lanka and over $5 million was donated to various rebuilding projects in the country.
“I am deeply humbled by this honour. I come from a family where philanthropy has been a way of life. My parents have instilled in me the value of being in service to others from a young age. And one of my icons is Mahatma Gandhi whose teachings form the basis of RYTHM – Raise Yourself To Help Mankind, which led to the inception of the RYTHM Foundation.
The Foundation was conceived not to primarily be a donor or a charity, but instead to be a catalyst to innovate, inspire and implement new synergies that would allow people to stand on their own feet as opposed to looking for aid. Which is why we focus on the time and effort we are able to give people in need, as opposed to the size of the cheque. This honour is ultimately a recognition of 13 years of being in RYTHM,” said Vijay Eswaran on being chosen as one of the 48 Heroes.