Manjinder “James” Kumar is a man of many hats. Aside from his entrepreneurial prowess, he also founded the non-stock, non-profit organization Filipino Indian Commerce and Welfare Society Inc. (FICWSI). In balancing off work and his civic duties, his secret weapons are the three Sikhism principles.
Naam Japo (remember God). Kumar is a meditative man, anchoring much of his strength in his faith. His mornings are spent in meditation and prayer, seeing the need to uplift his praises and troubles before battling the day. His prayerful ways, and being president of the Khalsa Dhiwan Sikh Temple once, made him closer to people—fellow Indians and other nationals alike—and opened his heart to feel their grievances, prompting him to get out of his comfort zone, immerse in the streets, hear peoples’ plight, and help where he can. Soon, FICWSI was borne, and when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, he launched #filindihelpline, FICWSI’s outreach program dedicated to engaging community partners in giving aid fast and efficiently where needed.
Kirat Karo (honest work). As a businessman, one of Kumar’s strengths is trust in people, giving honesty a strong role in running his trade affairs. Close family and like-minded and -hearted individuals are his pillars for the enterprises he has built from scratch—he’s into business, process and outsourcing; security; construction; restaurant; and importation and distribution. The same is his approach when partnering with fellow businessmen. His informed decisions mainly spring from conscience calls, always a balance of between personal gain and the good of his people and partners, and the customers.
Vand Chakko (share with others). His blessings pouring in is as fast as his reflex to share these to many. Some of Kumar’s most memorable programs are the provision of a full scholarship to an orphanage, his dedicated support to frontliners (mainly the police and medical practitioners) by providing them gear to aid them at the height of the pandemic, various livelihood showcases for those who lost their jobs in the pandemic, fast and efficient aid when the Taal volcano erupted, spearheading the building of multi-purpose halls in impoverished communities, and taking part in the house rebuilding program with his fellow Sikhs when Typhoon Yolanda rendered many Leyte families homeless.
Recently, he started giving tactical help such as providing ambulances to select communities in the country; and sponsoring a training program, in partnership with the Philippine National Police-NCR, to train Filipinos certain skills that they might be able to use in kickstarting their own businesses or upgrade their skill set for better employment chances.
To Kumar, life is work is pray, work, love.
About Manjinder “James” Kumar
Manjinder “James” Kumar is director of Indian Cultural Association of the Philippines (ICAP), general secretary of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), and Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) Advisory Council Member. He served as president of Rotary Club of Makati Nielsen for two consecutive years, and was vice president of the PNP Foreign National Keepers (FNKN) for three years. Kumar was dubbed “Philanthropist of the Year” by Asia Leaders Awards in 2020, 2021 and 2022.