Vraj Pankhania is a philanthropist and businessman from humble origins who wants to give back. He is the Founder and Group Chairman of Westcombe Group and the founder of the Westcombe Foundation.
Family is crucially important to Vraj, both with his family business, Westcombe Group, and with the Westcombe Foundation. The Pankhania family originally hails from India’s Gujarat region. Over 100 years ago the family travelled to East Africa, where Vraj was born. Vraj came from a humble background in Kenya and, having been forced to relocate to the UK, decided to start his own business.
In 1975 Vraj Pankhania used a small loan to start Westcombe Group, and over many decades grew the company to become one of the UK’s most successful specialist residential developers. Vraj is driven by providing beautiful homes to maintain Britain’s historic buildings and to meet the housing demands of tomorrow.
In 2003 Vraj Pankhania handed the day-to-day management of Westcombe Group to his sons, Kamal and Sunil, seeking to ensure that family values of inclusiveness and longevity would continue to support the business’ growth into the future. Vraj continues to oversee the company’s development as Chairman.
Throughout his career, Vraj has been motivated to make a positive difference to people and communities in need of emergency support. He has dedicated significant time, effort and money into making sure that he is able to help people in most of need when they need it. Vraj has developed and supported a wide range of philanthropic projects, inspiring him to create the Westcombe Foundation, helping people all around the world through providing up to £547k of support per year towards emergency aid, building hospital and school facilities, donating food and more.
For over ten years it has helped those suffering from disability and eyesight problems in Kenya by donating wheelchairs and artificial limbs for those who have lost limbs in road accidents. It successfully funded the Lions Sight First Eye Hospital in Kenya, helping with over 250 cataract surgeries for people in impoverished communities.
The Foundation also helped to rebuild schools and shelter homes after the Nepal earthquake in 2015. With the Foundation’s generous donation of roughly £200,000, over 22 schools with 132 classrooms were assisted after the earthquake.