December 2, 2009

INDIA: MayaCare is Caring for a Cause

. PUNE, Maharashtra / TIMES Ascent / My Life / December 2, 2009 By Unnati Narang My Life Caring For A Cause Manjiri Gokhale Joshi, CEO, Maya Care, has worked in the publishing, IT and BPO industries for the last 16 years. Let us take a peek into the life of this corporate turned entrepreneur who has recently started Maya Care outdoor services for senior citizens. Manjiri Gokhale started working at the age of seventeen. She started as a freelance writer with various newspapers. After 10 years in print and electronic media, I had various stints in the corporate world. Working with various companies gave me the exposure and confidence to set up on my own.” Starting a social enterprise Manjiri had been keen on setting up her own venture for the past few years and recently she has finally launched her dream plan. She humbly shares the credit with the most important people in her life, “My personal circumstances have finally enabled me to realise this dream. My parents are both extremely hard-working and self motivated. From my father I imbibed discipline and rigour. From my mother – resilience to overcome obstacles and pour in your best in whatever you do. I thought of the concept of Maya CARE because I saw a unique opportunity.” Manjiri’s enterprise Maya Care aims to assist senior citizens in leading an independent life while living in their own homes by pursuing activities that give them happiness. She spotted a silver lining early enough. “Unlike the Western world where generations have known and thus accepted that children would grow up and move on, this is probably the first generation of Indians facing the prospect of living by themselves in their sunset years. Our infrastructure, social set-up and mental make-up are still grappling with this new reality. The solution – old age homes or relocation to be where their children are, is unacceptable for most people. On the positive side, several members of the current generation of senior citizens are more active and independent than ever before.” Typical day For Manjiri, no two days are the same. Her late evenings are usually spent in news reports, video-editing at dawn and mid-night team BPO meetings. Rest of the time, she’s managing her venture. If you ask her, why she chose to call it Maya CARE, Manjiri doesn’t need a long story to make her point, “Maya means ‘mamata’ or affection in Sanskrit. It is a simple word that can be easily pronounced by people across cultures. Besides, it has been my favourite name for several years!” Looking ahead For an entrepreneur, the sky is the limit. Manjiri envisions a self-sustainable social enterprise. “Maya CARE is not dependant on donations. We have subscription charges that go towards payment of service associates and other operational expenses. The subscription is priced at the minimal possible. However, there are still senior citizens in India who need this service but cannot afford it. We are planning an ‘Adopt a grandparent’ initiative that enables individuals, associations, companies or other groups to sponsor the service for deserving senior citizens." [rc] Copyright 2010© Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd.