Rod Jao: Philanthropy in Southeast Asia

Despite his business success, entrepreneur Rod Jao identifies more as a philanthropist than a businessman. His philanthropic style might just save Southeast Asia’s many orphanages.

While that is a tall order, Jao sees things in a different light. His perspective is mainly based on kindness and trying his hardest to ease the burden of others. Jao comes from humble beginnings. While he was fortunately not an orphan, he knows what it is like to live in a developing nation and the struggle that comes with it.

A Tough Feat

Rod Jao’s Filipino roots have taught him that most people do not have much. He learned children of poor parents have daily difficulties that people their age should not be experiencing at all.

This is the sad story that most would hear coming from this part of Asia. It is a daily reality that Jao saw growing up. He knows that it is harder for children to survive without a family, and in an environment like Southeast Asia, life can become unbearable.

In 2020, as the pandemic hit the whole world, millions of Southeast Asians were thrust back into the poverty line. A cruel reversal of what little economic progress that the region obtained in the past decade. This same background and the Southeast Asian experience that he had growing up will guide Jao in helping orphans in the region.

He knows that helping orphanages in this part of Asia will be challenging, but this acknowledgment comes with understanding the region itself and how troublesome it is to survive there. Experts say this might be one of the most challenging feats any philanthropist will take, but with Jao’s background, helping orphanages in this part of the world is definitely doable.

Orphanages in Southeast Asia, A Murky Affair

The orphanage problem in Southeast Asia is a complex issue. Based on recent UNICEF reports, it mixes well-meaning charities with those who engage in human trafficking for the sake of orphanage tourism. The latter is one of the more significant problems that philanthropists like Rod Jao will face. Especially at a time when orphanage tourism is prevalent in the region.

In the Philippines, there are no recorded incidents of orphanage tourism. This makes it easier for Jao to help orphans in the country. After all, it is forecasted that Jao will start this particular philanthropic activity in the country of his birth. It is a different case in Thailand, Cambodia, and Nepal, experts warn.

Based on UNICEF’s report, numerous orphanages in these Southeast Asian nations charge hundreds of dollars a week just so volunteers can spend time with children who are supposedly orphans. In most cases, these claims are false, according to UNICEF representatives.

In Thailand, a whopping $400 per week is charged to volunteers who want to help. Jao will be advised to fight against this, as this goes against his personal philosophy of building better worlds for everyone.

In particular, in Nepa, Rod Jao will face problems with orphanages whose residents still have at least one living parent. In fact, UNICEF says that this comprises 85% of all children in the country’s orphanages. Jao’s vision of helping legitimate institutions will save the day, though, and the businessman will likely see through these roadblocks immediately.

Who is Rod Jao?

In a recent interview with MENAFN, Jao told reporters that the underprivileged in his home country, the Philippines, struggle every day to afford necessities. This left a mark on Rod Jao that will likely stay with him throughout the rest of his life.

Seeing poverty firsthand “instilled a sense of responsibility” in Jao, according to MENAFN. He also knows how difficult it is to make a living as he started reselling items when he was younger. Selling comic books was one of his first businesses as a child. Later on, he started buying wholesale candy to sell it to customers outside the church where he and his family went every Sunday.

These experiences will help Jao navigate the somewhat murky world of Southeast Asia’s orphanages and the problems they face. Private initiatives for the sake of public good are always welcome in a world full of problems, and that is how Jao sees things.

In an article published by the Digital Journal in October 2021, Rod Jao defines success based on how much help he can give others. In fact, in another interview, Jao said that every time he donates to a cause, he thinks of the people of his hometown in the Philippines.

Jao has made his philanthropic activities possible through his own success as a businessman. Throughout his career, the entrepreneur founded several investment corporations that dealt with commercial and residential real estate. He also founded a venture capital company that funds technological, manufacturing, and telecommunication advancements.

Philanthropy Always Wins

It is always about easing the burden of others for Jao, and he does this through his philanthropy. It is noted that Jao has had many success stories in helping the underprivileged.

He helped local hospitals in the past and has done so with his love for the poor. Now a father, Rod Jao is setting his sights on making life easier for children who have lost their parents. He knows that anyone can be a philanthropist like him, too. Helping, according to Jao, is the peak of success.