Maya CARE Foundation
The next best thing to family, powered by professionals with disability.
Maya CARE Foundation, co-founded by Manjiri Gokhale Joshi, her husband Abhay Joshi and late mother Dr Vidya Gokhale in 2009, has conducted 10,200 free visits to senior citizens providing them medical assistance, emotional support, intellectual stimulation and convenience. Maya CARE services are available across 18 Indian cities and offer livelihood to over 100 persons with disability (PWD). Since April 2020, Maya CARE has been operational in four cities of the UK.
The purpose is to enable the elderly to lead independent, happy and convenient lives in their own homes/care homes/assisted living while empowering persons with disabilities (PWDs) to become self-reliant professionals working from their own homes.
So how does it work?
Maya CARE has helplines operating in different Indian languages and in English. Senior citizens or their family members approach Maya CARE via these helplines, website or social media requesting help. All this work at the backend is performed by persons with disability.
With the tagline “Next best thing to family”, Maya CARE representatives provide free assistance with activities like accompanying the elderly to the hospital/radiotherapy/sitting with them in hospital/outside ICU/bank/railway station/airport/social occasion/walk/picking up medical reports/sorting out paperwork/arranging for sanitization/reading to them/writing for them and more.
Maya CARE is currently operational in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Anand, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Jalandhar, Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai, Trichy, Bangalore, Belgaum and Hyderabad.
What is distinctive about Maya Care?
Being the first and only free organization of its kind offering pan India service, Maya CARE is sometimes mistaken for being a concierge service or household help/nurses bureau, which are all paid services. Maya CARE work ranges from bringing a Ganpati idol home to arranging for sanitization of an isolating senior citizen. The core of Maya CARE service is attempting to make up for the absence of a family member. Therefore, over time, especially during the Covid situation, Maya CARE representatives have taken on varied responsibility including performing someone’s last rites and helping a daughter who could not be there due to the lockdown, to pay her respects to her father virtually for the last time. Explains Manjiri, “There are only three things we do not do – emergency service, medical carer/ayah/nursing and domestic work like cooking/cleaning/gardening. These are all paid services and whenever needed, our coordinators arrange for the elderly to be connected with the appropriate agencies offering these services. Payment is made to them directly and Maya CARE services continue to be free.”
Maya Care services are delivered by a team of trustworthy representatives driven by the passion to serve society. Though each of them receives a minor compensation to cover their expenses, visiting the elderly through Maya CARE is a part-time activity that offers them fulfilment. Maya CARE representatives who visit could be working/retired professionals/homemakers or students.
Why Maya CARE?
Manjiri explains “Unlike the Western world where generations have known and thus accepted that children would grow up and move out of home, this is 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.”
Manjiri says, “Maya” means ‘mamta’ or affection in Sanskrit. It is a simple word that can be easily pronounced by people across cultures. The Maya CARE logo was designed by Manasi Gokhale Agharkar– whose inability to hear is more than compensated by her creativity. The Maya CARE brand uses violet for softness that is essential for care of the elderly. Yellow stands for bringing sunshine in their lives. The green maple leaf transforming into the colours of autumn denotes the sentiment of the young generation reaching out to the elderly.
The entrepreneurial journey
Over the last 11 years, Maya CARE was funded through the personal incomes of Abhay and Manjiri Joshi along with a few small donations from well-wishers. As both of them pursued their corporate careers, Manjiri’s late mother Dr Vidya Gokhale anchored Maya CARE activities from Pune ably supported by volunteers. A former IT professional, Abhay runs his own Maths and Science tutoring company Elephant Connect. Manjiri worked as a journalist for a decade with The Indian Express, In Mumbai Television and Dataquest magazine. She moved on to a corporate career with Zensar Technologies and then ICICI Lombard in Pune and Mumbai and Informa PLC in London. After a three-year stint as CEO of a company called Global Talent Track (GTT), Manjiri quit her corporate career in April 2020 to work with Maya CARE full time, make it self-sustainable and nurture a team of persons with disability to take Maya CARE forward.
She says, “Over the last decade, Maya CARE has been held up by my husband Abhay Joshi and my late mother Dr Vidya Gokhale, even when I could not dedicate adequate time to Maya CARE due to my professional commitments. We are now moving forward with three audacious long term goals –
There will be a Maya CARE helpline available in every language spoken across the world and every city of India.
Over 90% of roles in Maya CARE, across all functions like HR, finance, fund-raising, administration and city coordination will be performed by persons with disability.
Maya CARE will have the funds to pay proper, competitive compensation to the entire team that runs Maya CARE.
Maya CARE continues to find appreciation from several quarters – corporates, communities and individuals who are now stepping forward to donate and contribute to continuing the effort beyond its founders, representatives across cities working as volunteers and the elderly themselves. Abhay Joshi and Manjiri Joshi were recently presented the Rotary Seacoast - Service Excellence Award for their contribution to society via Maya CARE.
Manjiri Gokhale Joshi was recently awarded as an Emerging Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2021 by Great Companies
Edited by Rashmi Rekha Patra