Home LearningKnow It All Dubai student launches MAYA, a one-of-a-kind philanthropic initiative to foster empathy

Dubai student launches MAYA, a one-of-a-kind philanthropic initiative to foster empathy

by Belinda Breeze

Pranaya Pagarani Bahirwani, a passionate 17-year-old student in Dubai, officially launches MAYA, a unique philanthropic initiative aimed at cultivating empathy and nurturing inclusivity among the youth in the UAE. MAYA stands out for its unique approach by onboarding students to collaboratively work towards common goals, leveraging their individual skills and interests.

Inspired by Bahirwani’s grandmother who frequently donated to and supported those less fortunate, MAYA aims to bring together young people across the UAE to make a meaningful impact on society. The initiative will involve student participants collectively working to address pressing social issues, contribute to community development, and ultimately create a ripple effect of positive change.

Key features of MAYA include:
Empathy as the Core Value: MAYA places a strong emphasis on empathy as a guiding principle. Participants are encouraged to understand and connect with the challenges faced by others in their community, fostering a sense of compassion and understanding. Inclusivity is also a key pillar for all activities, as MAYA aims to provide children of all ages and less fortunate ones with services or items to which they may not have direct access.

Skill-Based Recruitment: The initiative takes a novel approach to recruitment by identifying and harnessing the unique skills and interests of each student. For instance, those who are interested in photography can assist in documenting the journey, while those with an artistic talent can help develop creative resources. By aligning tasks and projects with individual capabilities, MAYA ensures that participants can make a meaningful contribution in their own unique way.

Collaborative Goal Setting: MAYA encourages students to collectively set goals that address specific social issues. Participants propose ideas that are alike in theme to work towards and define the projects and initiatives they will undertake. Through collaboration and open dialogue, participants ensure a sense of ownership and commitment.

Transparent Community Impact: MAYA is committed to creating tangible, positive change in the community. MAYA’s soon-to-be-developed online platform will be accessible to the wider public in order to view the heartfelt actions that have been completed by participants through pictures and testimonials.

Expressing her excitement about the launch, Bahirwani said, “I have always been close to my grandmother, whose sole aim was to make people feel welcomed, cared for and appreciated. In 2022, I started packing bags of food and beverages every month for construction workers to provide them with energy throughout the day and to reward them for their efforts, ensuring they know that nothing goes unnoticed. From the gratitude and satisfaction after each month, MAYA emerged. It is not just an initiative; it is a movement driven by the energy and passion of young minds. By working together, we can create a more compassionate and aware society, one project at a time.”

As the initiative continues to gain traction, Bahirwani aims to partner with like-minded organisations and companies to widen the number of potential participants.