The United Nations, the World Health Organization and other aid groups estimate that almost one-third of people in Asia live on less than $1.51 per day. Here are some of the most successful philanthropists in Asia who are fighting to end poverty and hunger by 2030.
10 Significant Philanthropists in Asia
- Jack Ma—China: Founder and executive of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Ma donated $2.9 billion to charitable causes across China last year. Ma also set up a $2.4 billion trust for Hong Kong youth and rising entrepreneurs.
- Sunny Varkey—India: Founder of Gems Education and one of India’s most prominent entrepreneurs. Varkey has recently signed the Giving Pledge, which is a promise to give most of his wealth to philanthropic missions. His foundation seeks to train 250,000 teachers in order to help nearly 10 million students across India, China, Africa and the Middle East.
- P.J. Lhuillier—Philippines: Founder of the P.J. Lhuillier Group. In addition to providing 300 annual scholarships to impoverished students, Lhuillier has also established a foundation that enables dropouts to go back to school. The foundation already has 19 adult education centers open with 48 additional centers to open this coming year.
- Cho Gang-Gul—South Korea: Founder of Hannsem. The furniture magnate donated $400 million to a South Korean think tank that works across Asia to seek out and train a new generation of global leaders through an understanding of both Eastern and Western cultures.
- Jeffrey Cheah—Malaysia: Chairman for the Sunway Group. Since 1997, Cheah has donated nearly $50 million worth of scholarships for 20,000 low-income students. Cheah’s foundation has also donated $6.2 million to fund an exchange program between Southeast Asian institutions and Cambridge University.
- Mohamed Abdul Jaleel—Singapore: Founder of Mes Group. The construction mogul had to drop out of school when he was 16 to support his family. He has made it a life mission to help impoverished children get through school. For the past several years, he has given $1.1 million annually to the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which gives students money for lunch meals and school supplies. Abdul Jaleel also donates an additional $1 million each year to schools in Singapore’s poorer neighborhoods.
- Philipp Graf von Hardenberg—Thailand: Founder of the Children’s World Academy. The German native moved to Thailand to provide aid after the 2004 Tsunami and has been helping impoverished children ever since. He set up an orphanage to help children affected by the devastation, and the same facility still operates to this day as a school for impoverished youth. The school has raised more than $5 million.
- Manny Pacquiao—Philippines: World boxing champion and Philippine Congressman. Pacquiao and his wife donated 200 college scholarships, funded full missions for Habitat for Humanity in the Southern Philippines and gave upwards of $400,000 in medical assistance to needy families.
- Hendro Gondokusumo—Indonesia: Founder of Intiland Development. As one of the largest property developers in Indonesia, Gondokusumo has just set up a new foundation aimed at giving low-income and impoverished families affordable and safe living in the capital Jakarta and across the island of Java.
- Yao Ming—China: Retired NBA All-Star. His foundation has helped repair schools and build sports facilities for hundreds of thousands of students in rural China. The Yao Foundation hopes to improve the lives of 150,000 children through sport and exercise by the end of this year.
– Joe Kitaj