Executive Chairman of the QI Group, Vijay Eswaran 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 – mostly business tycoons and billionaires who have donated millions of dollars towards various causes, and little-known citizens who are extremely generous with their limited funds. 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.

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 Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the QI Group, and its Malaysian chapter Vijayaratnam Foundation. While RYTHM Foundation, registered in Hong Kong has been involved in various initiatives globally in the areas of education, disaster relief, children and community development, its Malaysian Chapter, Vijayaratnam Foundation that Eswaran established in honour of his 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 most well known for its projects 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.

“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.

Forbes Asia’s goal is not to rank the biggest givers by dollar amounts or percentage of assets, as those figures would be impossible to collect.  Instead, as explained by Senior Editor John Koppisch, “Our aim is to call attention to a mix of notable people and causes throughout the region and to encourage more giving.”