Tycoon Manu Chandaria Narrates Father's Hesitation to Support His Philanthropic Journey

  • Business tycoon Manu Chandaria making his speech at the ceremony of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in August 2022.
    Business tycoon Manu Chandaria making his speech at the ceremony of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in August 2022.
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  • With little to offer, business tycoon and philanthropist Manu Chandaria began his philanthropy journey with only 40 people.

    However, his idea to give back to society was met with objections from others, including his father, who managed the family business.

    In an interview with KTN News on Friday, November 18, the billionaire recounted engaging his father prior to embarking on his ventures. 

    His father was not enthusiastic about the benevolent project. At one point, he reportedly told him, "You are too small."

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    Billionaire Manu Chandaria addresses a gathering in 2019
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    "I started with 40 people working in the plant in Mombasa before others joined in, rising to 100. At this time, the idea of the Chandaria Foundation came to mind," Chandaria recalled.

    Furthermore, Chandaria added that his father initially advised him to focus on building the family business, creating wealth, and becoming a philanthropist later on. He was urged to follow the ideology of creating wealth from nothing.

    However, Chandaria opposed the idea noting, "It's good to do something when you have nothing at all because when the wealth comes no one wants to do anything."

    It was only after four years that the number grew to 400 that his father got on board with the idea. He also gave him 10 per cent in shares from the family business to fund the foundation

    "The best thing that happened to me was that he (my father) had the idea to give thought different from mine. His way was unorganised," Chandaria remarked.

    "When he finally agreed, he added that this was the right way to put the family wealth into some good work," he added.

    The initiative that began with only one scholarship has benefitted numerous individuals resulting in Chandaria being recognised internationally

    In August 2022, he became the first African to receive the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in the United States.

    "I was very surprised to be awarded. I felt very insignificant after seeing the names of people who have received the award in the past," he stated.

    Business tycoon Manu Chandaria (center) at the Dr. Manu Chandaria Bravery Awards 2019 handing a certificate to a police officer alongside ex-IG Hilary Mutyambai (left) on December 11, 2019
    Business tycoon Manu Chandaria (center) at the Dr. Manu Chandaria Bravery Awards 2019 handing a certificate to a police officer alongside ex-IG Hilary Mutyambai (left) on December 11, 2019
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    NPS

    He compared philanthropic work done by other popular individuals like Dolly Parton. Chandaria was, however, grateful to be recognised for his philanthropy. 

    After receiving his award, he put it around the neck of his three-year-old great-granddaughter to represent the continuation of his philanthropic work.

    "The Chandaria Foundation's project has allowed the Chandaria family to create a legacy of healthier and better educated Africans while helping to mobilize and empower new generations of business leaders across the African continent," the award's committee noted.