Maitreya (Mittu) Doshi is the Chairman and Managing Director of Premier Ltd. and also the Managing Trustee of the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation. Maitreya ‘Mittu’ Doshi’s family business may have been automotives, but his education was economics and cinema.
“My parents always said, ‘the mind is enriched through education and the spirit through art and culture'” says Maitreya (Mittu). “I grew up in a home where the dinner table was filled with conversations about India’s freedom movement, painting, music and experimental theatre.”
Maitreya carries on his family’s commitment to art, culture and philanthropy through his incredibly inclusive Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation – a non-profit charity trust named after his parents of which he is the Managing Trustee. It seeks to embody their lifelong passions and values by supporting initiatives in the fields of Art & Culture, Education and Community.
The Foundation provides scholarships to very bright yet financially challenged young Indians, enabling them to catapult themselves to a higher economic and social orbit. Till date, the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation has provided over 50 fully paid, 4-year scholarships to undergraduate students at the College of Engineering, Pune, on whose Board Maitreya ‘Mittu’ Doshi also serves. The Foundation funded the $600,000 modernization of the college’s 140-year-old Production Engineering Laboratory, equipping the workshop with technologically advanced CNC Machines, some of which were provided by Maitreya ‘Mittu’ Doshi managed Premier Ltd. Recently the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation has launched the Saryu Doshi Post Graduate Fellowship in Liberal Arts and Sciences. These fellowships are awarded to 5 Indian nationals to pursue higher education overseas.
The Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation also fosters emerging talent in the visual and performing arts through fellowships, performances, exhibitions and festivals. One such initiative, the Vinod Doshi Theatre Festival, has helped promote experimental theatre in India with more than 25,000 theatre enthusiasts enjoying multi-lingual performances annually for the past 8 years.
The Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation is committed to improving the community by funding initiatives in environmental protection and social upliftment. From rehabilitating children of brothel-based women to spreading awareness amongst young men about the devastation of succumbing to the violence of abuse and rape, the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation has partnered with some of India’s prominent Non Government Organizations (NGOs) such as the National Centre For Performing Arts, Children in Progress, and American Alumni Association to name a few.
Maitreya ‘Mittu’ Doshi is happy to talk cars and technology but art, culture, community and education are subjects that truly inspire. “Business and industry are about making money but also about building your nation, facilitating education and enabling people to do better,” says Maitreya ‘Mittu’ Doshi. “I’m chasing the return on my investment as much as the next person, but I think there is a side that says we can always do something more.”
Maitreya (Mittu) Doshi truly believes that the mind is enriched through Education. A commitment to empower young minds through education, the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation, of which Maitreya Doshi is the Managing Trustee has undertaken several initiatives in education, the footprint of which stretches from supporting technical education in India and through revamping infrastructure projects for educational institutes to scholarships and Fellowships for post graduate studies abroad.
Under the leadership of Maitreya Doshi, the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation partnered over the past 10 years with the American Alumni Association (AAA), a voluntary non-profit organization, to offer financial assistance to deserving Indian students. These students are admitted in recognized US universities on their own merit to pursue higher education. Each year our Foundation supported upto 5 such scholars through the AAA. The main aim of this initiative was to enhance higher education by giving an opportunity to academically bright students who have a drive to succeed but are unable to do so due to their financial challenges. Over 30 students were supported through this initiative over the last 10 years.
Applications flow in from across the country and from fields as diverse as Urban Planning, Clean Energy, Architecture, Medicine, Engineering, Computer Science, etc.
” Just as the scholarship is extremely valued by the students, VSDF’s contribution is invaluable to AAA. It is because of this contribution that we can help two more students in realizing their academic goals. Almost all students have expressed their pride in winning the Award, and they refer to themselves as “AAA Scholar” on their resume.” says Mr. Mitesh Sanghvi, President American Alumni Association 2014.
The overwhelming response that we received through this scholarship motivated Mr. Doshi to develop a Fellowship for financially challenged young Indians enabling them to catapult themselves to a higher economic and social orbit. The Saryu Doshi Post Graduate Fellowships in Liberal Arts and Sciences aims to support students of Indian nationality who have received acceptance at a University abroad to pursue post-graduation in the field of Liberal Arts (Masters, Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate or Doctorate). The Fellowships are applicable to the fields of Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
In 2008, Mr. Maitreya Doshi launched the Vinod Doshi – COEP Merit Scholarship. The Scholarship was initiated in memory of his father, Mr. Vinod Doshi, the Late Chairman of Premier Ltd. Apart from being an eminent industrialist, Vinod Doshi was passionate about technical education, experimental theatre & all genres of music, thus in his memory, the Vinod Doshi- COEP Merit scholarship was launched in one of the most prestigious engineering colleges of Pune.
So far Mr. Maitreya Doshi has supported 62 students to pursue their 4 year engineering education at the College of Engineering, Pune through the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation. The scholarship is given to students with strong academic credentials but severe financial constraints. Each scholarship covers the student’s entire tuition fee, lodging, boarding and course material during the 4 year degree programme. All scholars are assured fully paid summer internships for all 4 years at Premier Ltd and a confirmed job after graduation. The Scholarship program is not merely to create academic geniuses, but to have an overall development of the individual. In addition to funding the education, some additional mentoring activities encouraged by Maitreya Doshi were:
- Theatre and self-expression workshops
- Field and other factory visits
- Premier factory visit
- Soft skills workshops
- Personal skills workshop
- Internships at Premier
- Alumni engagement with our initiatives
- A lap-top challenge: The objective was to inspire scholars to go beyond their text books and show us their leadership potential. The one year long competition’s prize is a state of the art laptop for the winner. The challenge necessitates the students’ keeping up their grade requirements along with joining at least 1 extracurricular activity and broadening their perspective. In addition, it not only necessitates the scholars participation in the college activities but also a proactive approach to organizing events for other scholars.
The beneficiaries of this Scholarship are well placed today at reputed firms such as Morgan Stanley, Ford Motors, Bosch, IMB, Tata Technologies, Oracle, L&T etc.
Indrajeet Jadhav, a rank holder in the competitive CET exams was hesitant to take admission in COEP due to his financial constraints. However, he decided to adopt the ‘Earn and Learn scheme to fund his education, until he received the Vinod Doshi- CEOP Merit scholarship.
” Apart from supporting my education, the 4 week internship at Premier which i was fortunate to get contributed heavily toward better understanding the subject as well as being responsible and disciplined in the Corporate world.”
Some of Indrajeet’s main achievements through his engineering degree, apart from gaining academic excellence are :
- A job at Tata Technologies.
- A part of ‘Robot study circle’ club at COEP which has won ‘best idea award’ at the National level competition Robocon-14.
- A Badminton player, representing COEP at University level.
“A boy from relatively no means received a full education, has blossomed and is involved is so many other facets of his own development and is thinking about giving back to those less fortunate than him! He has reached greater levels of self-actualization than most his age…This is a fulfilling initiative undertaken by us..” says Mr. Maitreya Doshi.
“Our family is committed to philanthropic work and our thrust is to promote higher education in India through scholarships, fellowships as well as educational infrastructure upgradation.” says Maitreya Doshi, Chairman and Managing Director of Premier Ltd. who donated over Rs. 2 crore from his public charity trust – ‘The Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation’ to the College of Engineering, Pune (COEP) to modernize and renovate their production engineering laboratory. The lab was named Vinod Doshi Memorial Production Engineering Workshop, in memory of his father, the late industrialist Vinod Doshi.
“My father strongly believed in supporting technical education in India and wanted students to have high-quality facilities to improve their knowledge.” said Maitreya Doshi.
The 138-year-old lab was fully upgraded and equipped with state-of-the-art CNC machines, some of which have been provided by Premier’s machine tool division. According to Kanad Saha, third year mechanical engineering student, “Earlier, we worked with British-made traditional lathes. But now we are able to work on CNC machines. We can now implement all the theories that we have learnt about CNC machines. Even the workshop environment has drastically improved after the renovation. Our workshop is more in line with industry conventions now.”
On 20th Jan 2016, Mr. Maitreya (Mittu) Doshi extended his support towards education by setting up a rigorous and challenging Post Graduate Fellowships in Liberal Arts & Sciences through the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation called the ‘Saryu Doshi Post Graduate Fellowships in Liberal Arts and Sciences’. “We believe that mind is enriched through education and the spirit through art and culture, the fellowships serve as a great opportunity for brilliant and aspiring students with a drive to climb the ladder of success. VSDF is of the view that financial problems or challenges should not block your road to success.”, says Maitreya Doshi, Managing Trustee of the Foundation.
The Saryu Doshi Post Graduate Fellowship in Liberal Arts and Sciences are awarded to financially challenged young Indians enabling them to catapult themselves to a higher economic and social orbit. It fosters emerging talent in the visual and performing arts as well as natural and social sciences.
The Fellowships aim to support students of Indian nationality who have received acceptance at a University abroad to pursue post-graduation in the field of Liberal Arts (Masters, Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate or Doctorate). The Fellowships are applicable to the fields of Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
The main aim of the fellowship program is to enhance the higher education by giving an opportunity to academically bright students who have a drive to succeed but are unable to do so due to their financial challenges. This is a need-based merit Fellowship and abides by the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action policy. The maximum amount for the Fellowship will be upto Rs 3 lakhs per fellow, which will be payable as a onetime amount.
Maitreya Doshi and the other Trustees of the Vinod and Saryu Doshi Foundation have a strong connection to Education and the Arts.
Maitreya Doshi and the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation are receptive and sensitive to importance of technical as well as higher education in India. Currently, the Foundation has Fellowships and Scholarships for technical education such as the Vinod Doshi- COEP Merit Scholarship which is given to students of COEP to pursue their degree in Engineering as well as the Saryu Doshi Post Graduate Fellowship in Liberal Arts and Sciences which is given to Indian nationals who have been accepted at a University abroad to pursue post-graduation in the field of Liberal Arts (Masters, Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate or Doctorate). The Fellowships are applicable to the fields of Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Apart from this, Maitreya Doshi also feels it is imperative to focus on vocational education which facilitates bridging the gap between the demand and supply for skilled manpower across various industries in India today. Maitreya Doshi, through his Foundation has supported students pursuing such courses for e.g. a niche course in Music education (which imparts western classical music) and a course in hospitality etc.
One such example of vocational support was given to Ms. Veronica Fernandes, whom Mr. Doshi through the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation has pledged to sponsor a degree program in Hospitality studies. Veronica Fernandes. Veronica hails from a humble background with no stable source of income. With a dream to become a bakery chef on a cruise liner, Veronica opted for the BSc in Hospitality Studies at Sophia Polytechnic. A dedicated and focused student, Veronica determined to chase her dreams, worked in her summer break to meet the fee requirement needed for the course.
“My education has always been of upmost importance to me, and to receive this aid in a time of need is very humbling. This financial aid is an absolute answer to prayers, as life does not always go as we plan. I will forever be grateful for this gift, and I cannot thank you enough for that.” Veronica Fernandes
Mr. Maitreya Doshi firmly believes that the right to Primary Education is a fundamental right that every child must be given. To support this, Maitreya Doshi’s public charity trust, The Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation partnered with Ved Vignan Maha Vidyapeeth to enable primary and high school education in rural areas.
“This initiative was undertaken to spread the joy of education for the lesser privileged children in rural India.” Says Maitreya ‘Mittu’ Doshi, Managing Trustee of the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation.
The Foundation had adopted the Sri Sri Gnan Mandir school at Chimbali and supported the primary education of over 113 children each year in this rural area of rural Maharashtra. The school started in 2010 with 34 children taking admission and today the strength of the school has increased by 70%. Due to the various initiatives undertaken by the school in association with the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation, such as excursions and extracurricular activities the attendance has increased by 85% and parents have also taken keen interest in the child’s education.” , says the principal of the Sri Sri Gnan Mandir School appreciating Mr. Maitreya ‘Mittu’ Doshi’s support through the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation.
“The students participate in various social initiatives such as tree plantation drive, Spreading information on the importance of the girl child being educated through street plays etc in neighbouring communities. This contributes to the overall development of the child making him/ her a responsible citizens.” says a teacher of the school.
Art & Culture
Maitreya Doshi and his public charity trust, the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation are committed to supporting theatre in India through theatre festivals and fellowships in the Performing Arts.
The Annual Vinod Doshi Theatre Festival which is hosted in Pune, India is a property owned and developed by the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation in conjunction with the Sahitya Rangabhoomi Pratishthan. The Festival showcases remarkable works of scale by Indian playwright and directors from across the country. It is one of the few multilingual festivals in India supported by a Foundation which has grown over the past 9 years and is now marked as an annual cultural event in Pune. “Year after year, the best plays make it to this 5-day extravaganza that has Punekars asking for more! The Festival is commissioned to celebrate Mr. Vinod Doshi’s life-long passion for the arts, especially experimental theatre.” Says Maitreya Doshi who had initiated this festival in memory of his father the Late Mr. Vinod Doshi. Vinod Doshi was an eminent industrialist and Chairman of The Premier Automobiles Ltd., (now known as Premier Ltd.). “He had a rare combination of technical expertise and aesthetic sensibilities. His passion for amateur theatre and experimental cinema led to a close interaction with playwrights, actors, directors and technicians. He became deeply involved in various aspects connected with experimental theatre and cinema – screenplays, sound effects, lighting, rehearsals, translations and acting. During the late 60’s and early 70’s many play readings and post-show parties were held at our home…” reminisces Maitreya Doshi.
The Annual Vinod Doshi Theatre Festival gives an opportunity for theatre enthusiasts to enjoy thought provoking plays by established as well as aspiring directors from all over India. It creates a platform for showcasing the reinvention of traditional forms and new approaches towards theatrical presentations.
Determined to infuse character and vibrancy, the Festival Director, carefully selects the best directors from across India. The lines of performances are a reflection of each director’s unique style. The festival showcases premiering plays and plays that have never been performed, and are unlikely to be performed in Pune. So far, more than 28,000 theatre enthusiasts have enjoyed over 45 multi-linguistic performances in Marathi, English, Hindi, Gujarati, Rajasthani etc. entertaining audiences from 17 years to 70 years.
Some of our plays such as Gasha, Kaumudi, Mein Hoon Yusuf, Aur ye hain Mera Bhai have won awards in several categories at META.
“The Vinod Doshi festival has come to be recognised as the litmus test for first-grade theatre” Dr. Girish Karnad, Playwright and Film director
“The Vinod Doshi Theatre Festival continues to be a mecca for theatre connoisseurs” Pune Mirror, Times of India
“The Festival has grown from strength to strength. Over the years, the festival has become a prominent feature in the cultural calendar of Pune.” Shyam Benegal, Film director
“The annual festival has been an agent and stage for young theatre makers and has also exposed a new breed of art and theatre to Pune-ites.” The Indian Express (11.02.1016)
“During the two decades of 1960 and 1970, the theatre equality movement gathered momentum and it is a known fact that it was ably supported by Vinod Doshi. The theatre festival which began in his memory has showcased the best experimental plays and has made a major contribution in creating a new generation of theatre connoisseurs/patrons in Pune. In future too one is assured that the festival will continue to contribute and will keep on enlarging its circle of influence.”- Amol Palekar- Actor, Film Director and Producer.
Maitreya Doshi launched the Vinod Doshi Fellowships in Performing Arts in 2009 with the Sahitya Rangabhoomi Pratishthan. These Fellowships seek to commorate the vibrant life of Mr. Vinod Doshi, (Maitreya Doshi’s father) who as the Chairman of Premier Automobiles Limited (today Premier Ltd.) was one of the leaders of the Indian business world and combined the hectic demands of that role with his passion for arts, particularly theatre. “The Fellowship embodies my father’s firm conviction that to be able to reach out to people, theatre needs genuine financial support at the level of young talent, unencumbered by red tape and restrictive conditions”. Says Maitreya Doshi. The Vinod Doshi Fellowships are given to 5 upcoming artists in Hindi and Marathi theatre each year. The Fellowship is given to highly motivated individuals who are either pursuing or ready to embark upon a professional theatre career. The Fellowship permits artists to solely focus on their creative pursuits by supporting their monthly living expenses for a year without any questions being asked. The only expectation from the Fellowship is ‘creative risk taking’.
So far 40 artists have been awarded the Vinod Doshi Fellowship over the past 8 years. The Fellows contribute to theatre in over 8 fields, such as acting, direction, dance, set design, choreography, cinematography, light, sound design etc. Over 200 performances directed, performed and contributed by the Fellows collectively.
Recipients of this award are now established play-writers and directors such as Irawati Karnik who has written plays such as ‘Gasha’ and ‘S*x, M*rality & Cens*rship’ and Choiti Ghosh whose ‘A Birds’s eye’ view premiered the NCPA’s Centre stage festival in 2012 are just a few.
Some of our Fellows have won several awards and recognitions for their work.
- Sandeep Shikhar (2016 Fellow)- is a playwright and actor. He has been nominated for Best Actor in a lead role for his plays Kaumudi and Gasha at the META awards. His play Treadmill was selected for the First Festival of Contemporary Indian theatre in Paris 2013.
- Neel Chaudhuri (2014 Fellow)- a playwright and director has won the Metro Plus Playwright award for his play Taramandal. He also developed ‘Still and Still Moving” one of his plays with the Royal Court Theatre, London as part of the Writers’ Bloc 3
- “The only thing an actor wants is appreciation, and getting the Vinod Doshi Fellowship means you are at the top” says Saagar Deshmukh, a 2015 Fellow- also the Founding member of Aasakta Kalamanch, who performs in Hindi, English and Marathi plays across India. He has also been selected by Cirque du Soleil as a performer and has been awarded the Zee Gaurav Puraskar for one of his plays
- “I have always worked to get into a more artistic field, rather than a monetary one, and I am happy that I have been recognised” – Sanjukta Wagh (2015 Fellow) who used her award money for her initiative called ‘Beej’ which works on an inter-disciplinary approach to art. She has been awarded the British Council’s Charles Wallace scholarship to pursue a post graduate diploma in dance at the Trinity Laban Dance Centre, London
- “The Fellowship gave me a tremendous sense of support. I was encouraged to believe in my choices and to believe that the work I was going was considered important not only by me but by others as well. It is the most liberating feeling in the world.”- Irawati Karnik, 2009 Fellow.
Maitreya Doshi launched the Annual Vinod Doshi Theatre Festival in Pune in memory of his father the late Mr. Vinod Doshi who was extremely passionate about the performing arts, specifically theatre. The Annual Vinod Doshi Theatre Festival, Pune saw great success and has become an annual cultural calendar event for Pune. In order to broaden the platform for theatre, especially experimental theatre, Maitreya Doshi’s Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation partnered with NCPA to present ‘Centrestage- a multilingual festival of premiering plays in Mumbai, from 2013 to 2015. Over 3 years, the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation- NCPA Centrestage grew from strength to strength creating a platform for new works with debut performances from upcoming theatre groups such as Schitzengiggles, Pundalik etc.
The Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation- NCPA Centrestage Mumbai festival spanned across 10 days and showcased 15 premiering plays each year, thus brought experimental theatre to over 8000 Mumbai-kars over 3 years. It presented plays across various genres – Musical, Comedy, Social drama, Sci-fi and a tribute play and also in various languages- English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi & Rajasthani.
“NCPA and Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation Centrestage has always been a catalyst for artistes to come up with their best work. It is also a benchmark that many seek to live up to; setting new standards in creativity, theatrics and presentation year after year. This is one of India’s most awaited and largest theatre festivals which maintained its uniqueness by bringing to the audiences multilingual productions that mirror the diversity of theatre in India. In ten days, one gets a glimpse of what theatre can do—entertain, provoke and elate.”, says Deepa Gahlot, former Head – Programming (Theatre & Film), NCPA. “The support from the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation has been a great asset. It’s not just an impersonal grant; Dr Doshi watches the plays and has been encouraging of our efforts.” she continued.
Maitreya Doshi is a firm believer of Charles Bukowski’s saying “Without Literature, life is hell.” Maitreya Doshi is an avid reader and a passionate writer. He has written over 52 weekly columns for the ‘Mid Day’. Recognising this love for books, Mr. Anil Dharker of Literature Live! Evenings approached the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation to collaborate on a series of book launches and author interactions for Mumbaikar’s who ordinarily would not get such an opportunity.
Maitreya believes that it is important to showcase the cutting edge contemporary side of literature such as spoken word, poetry slams, graphic novels, etc and thus along with Literature Live! Evenings he ideated a platform for the younger authors to showcase their work attracting younger and newer audiences.
Key Book launches by the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation :
- Vir Sanghvi‘s MANDATE: Will of the people – moderated by Anil Dharker
- Ronnie Screwvala’sDream with your eyes open: An entrepreneurial Journey- moderated by Mini Menon
- Devdutt Pattanaik‘s my Gita – in conversation with Anil Dharker
- Barkha Dutt‘sThis Unquiet Land; Stories from India’s fault Lines – in coversation with Chidambaram
- Karishma Attari’sI See You – in conversation with RJ Malishka and bollywood director Kannan Iyer
- Aseem Chhabra’sShashi Kapoor The Householder, the star – panel discussion with Shyam Benegal, Anil Dharker, Kunal Kapoor and Malavika Sangghvi
- Siddhartha Mukherjee’sThe Gene- An intimate history- in conversation with Rohan Murty
“… The aim and objectives of the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation and Literature Live! are the same: promotion of literature and culture in its myraid forms. Everyone knows how deeply the Doshis’ have been involved in culture in all its aspects… So it was a marriage of true minds…” says Anil Dharker, Founder of Literature Live! Evenings.
Like his parents Vinod & Saryu Doshi, Maitreya (Mittu) Doshi has always been very inclined towards supporting the Arts. The Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation has partnered with Giving Voices to India to support music- a form of the performing Arts. Giving Voice to India is a unique initiative to raise the standard of Western Classical singing, both art song and opera, in India. Through this partnership the Foundation has supported 2 Indian musicians, Shreyans Iyer and Farah Ghadiali from Giving Voices to pursue their education and acquire various skills such as vocal technique, musical style and interpretation, foreign language skills and score reading skills. Today both these students are pursuing a degree in classical music, Shreyans is pursuing a Masters Program in Music leadership at Guildhall College, London and Farah has completed her Masters program from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London.
“The scholarship provided by the Vinod Doshi Foundation has helped me to focus on my technical development as a singer. It has also emboldened me when it comes to taking on ambitious musical projects on a very short notice and exceeding expectations on the delivery.” Says Shreyans Iyer
On the other hand Farah expresses herself by saying, “The journey seems very long, arduous and uphill but I do know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. With more people and Foundations like the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation taking an interest in promoting the development of the arts and helping students like me with scholarships, I could dare to undertake this journey. I am most grateful for the help given to me. You have helped me today, and it has also indirectly helped many other music students who like me are looking out for qualified music teachers with the right kind of training to be able to share the joy of music.”
Apart from being committed towards education and Art and culture, Maitreya Doshi is equally dedicated to uplifting the community through initiatives in areas of women’s upliftment, environmental awareness and conservation and upliftment of children. Under his guidance, the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation has partnered with various organisations and NGOs working in this field. One such key partnership is with CHIP, Mumbai, an NGO working with children in BMC schools in Mumbai, where Maitreya Doshi’s Foundation undertakes a number of formal as well as informal educational initiatives which have benefited over 1600 underprivileged children from Mumbai’s BMC schools. Some such initiatives are:
- After school programmes which aid primary Balwadis and primary after school programs. Some of the activities that were supported by the Foundation were a theatre workshop, judo classes, weekly dance classes which is run by Shaimak Davar’s Victory Art Foundation, a girl child’s empowerment programme to name a few.
- Annual Career Fair was organised for the beneficiaries of a ‘tutoring and remedial support programme for municipal school students of class 9 and 10.
- Summer Camps and Diwali Camps which are annually organized to provide children who come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds a chance to experience the joys of a fun- filled holiday season as well as master activities that are of interest to them such as, judo, yoga, art, dance, basket ball etc. with a special emphasis on technique and sportsmanship with many Premier employees volunteering for these workshops during the camp.
- Plant visits conducted giving the children an equal opportunity to visit and interact with professionals and experience the actual work environment. “It was refreshing to find girls, who before the visit had dreamed of becoming doctors or teachers, were now looking at Engineering as a career option.” Says Maitreya Doshi.
- Reading programme created with an aim to improve the overall literacy skills of students studying in BMC schools The purpose of the program was to help improve the teaching and learning of reading in disadvantaged primary schools. In addition to developing reading skills amongst students, the program trains teachers in effective literacy practices and provides them with high-quality children’s books to facilitate reading in the classroom.
- Art education, a unique program appropriate for bridging the 3 main focus areas of Maitreya Doshi and the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation. The objective of the program is to implement an In-school Art Education program in BMC schools where focus is on mere literacy, traditional teaching, rote learning and where little or no importance is given to fostering innovation and creativity.
“…the factory visit to Pune was my first trip out of Mumbai…”
– Pooja Gupta (student of Tata compound Municipal school, Andheri).
“ I first though that girls could only become doctors or teachers and ‘engineering was only a man’s job, but now i think I will make a better engineer than my brother.”
– Priyanka Jaiswal (student of Tata compound Municipal school, Andheri)
“My mother now sees a better scope for my career after listening to the options that are thrown open after pursuing my ITI…”
– Nadeem Shaikh (student who attended the Career fair organised by the Foundation)
“If I can attend these summer camps every year, I will surely make it to the national basketball team one day”
– Mohammed Khan (participant of the summer camp held at the Pratikshan nagar municipal school)
“Most NGOs working towards striking out discrimination against women work directly with these women. However, ECF is an NGO with a difference who decided to work with young men instead, to offer them an opportunity to study and practice gender equitable behaviour addressing the issue proactively.”, says Maitreya Doshi, Managing Trustee of the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation. The Foundation partnered with Equal Community Foundation (ECF) to tackle the problem of discrimination against Indian women differently.
Maitreya Doshi took a conscious decision to adopt the Kashewadi community of Pune, a community with a high rate of violence and crime due to a mix population of people of multiple castes and religions to implement this program. “Through this initiative along with ECF we plan to stimulate attitude and behavior changes of young men towards women in their lives and neighborhoods.” Said Maitreya Doshi
Some key topics touched upon during the program are:
- Role of women in decision-making – challenges and solutions,
- Street sexual harassment
- Gendering of domestic chores.
“I changed his tuition time so that he can attend the ECF class. I send him because they teach the boys some very good things” said a Arjun’s (name changed)mother of one of the beneficiaries. “This is a unique concept because we never think about how much work we (women) do without any demands.”
Maitreya Doshi through the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation gave music scholarships for 4 very gifted and talented visually impaired students of the Happy Home and School for the Blind, Mumbai.
Nitesh Sonawane was supported to take solo Piano training at the Furtado’s School of Music Education Programme and appeared for the Trinity College Examination where he performed exceptionally well. Today Nitesh is a teacher at the Happy Home and School for the Blind. Other students who were supported were Rahul Gajjal who was also trained for solo Piano performances and he too did extremely well at the Trinity College Examination. Atul Kasbe was supported for his training on the Percussions and Drums, while Gulab Jha was trained for playing the Electronic Guitar.
Apart from supporting these students, Maitreya Doshi also donated a high-end keyboard to the institute to encourage music education and so that more students get access to play the instrument.
Maitreya Doshi feels very strongly about women’s empowerment. The Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation in association with Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC), an NGO working with brothel-based prostitutes and other marginalized women and their children in the Falkland Road area. The Foundation supported two of the collective’s programs called ‘Udaan’ (aimed at providing education, vocational skills, recreational activities, medical care, psychological counseling, nutritious meals and job placements to enable their all-round development) and ‘Umaang’, a complete day care centre for toddlers between 2-6 years. In addition, the Foundation supported a Beautician Training course with AAWC. The course was designed to train the women in skills and techniques required to find employment opportunities in the beauty industry in the form of practicing beauticians, utilizing this opportunity to join the mainstream society and earn a livelihood. Though the Foundation and AAWC faced a lot of hurdles in conducting and implementing the course, this did not perturb Maitreya Doshi’s commitment towards the initiative and finally we had over 8 beneficiaries of the program whose lives have been deeply impacted by the initiative.
Maitreya Doshi’s Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation supports the Blue Shores Prison Art Project.
Brainchild of Margaret Mascarenhas and Swatee Nair, the Blue Shores Art Project was a unique prison art pilot program conducted at the Central Aguada jail in Goa. “Although prison art programmes have seen success across the world, it hadn’t garnered much attention in India back in 2009. That is why The Blue Shores Prison Art Project intrigued us.” says Maitreya Doshi, Trustee of the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation who got involved in this unique project.
Maitreya Doshi is a strong believer of giving “Second Chances’’ and the Blue Shores Project was initiated to give a pre-selected group of inmates a chance to execute their sentences in a meaningful and creative way by using a specially designed college-level curriculum of writing, painting, drawing and performance art. The project also established the idea that the prison is as much about reform as it is about punishment by documenting positive behavioural changes and exploring the implications of this experiment.
“For those inmates participating in this experiment, Blue Shores moves beyond therapy and teaches a different way of seeing and interacting with the world through the serious and committed practice of art for its own sake.”
Margaret Mascarenhas, Founder member of the Blue shores prison art project
“When I look at a real landscape, I want to transform it into something else. When I was a young boy, I used to carry my machete in the forest and carve images with it on the ground or on trees. Little did I know this impulse would lead me to become an artist or that the jail would become my school.”
Inmate and participant
Maitreya Doshi fulfils a wish for a beneficiary of the ‘Make-A-Wish Foundation’
Eleven-year-old Prerna Chavan had been ailing from a life-threatening medical condition for more than three months. When asked about her most cherished desire, she said she hoped to spend her birthday on a boat. This led to the formation of a partnership between the Vinod and Saryu Doshi Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of India to realise the young girl’s wish. On her special day, Prerna and her family reached the Gateway of India to find a splendid 50-foot yacht waiting to be sailed. The young girl’s excitement was clearly palpable as she explored the yacht and enjoyed the experience that was so close to her heart.
“This experience will go a long way, not only for the child but also for her family, who are still coping from the fact that their daughter/sister/cousin suffers a life-threatening illness.It was a MAGICAL MOMEMENT for Prerna”
– Ms. Sophia Falcao, Programme Co-ordinator
Make-A-Wish Foundation is an NGO, dedicated to granting the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions.
“89% of Doctors surveyed by the Wish Impact study believe that a wish experience can improve children’s physical health… and we are happy that we could make some contribution towards improving Prerna’s condition.” Says Maitreya Doshi
Imparting English Education through Kings Learning.
“India is a democratic country with many varied cultures and languages. However, even though English is not a language of Indian origin, it is still one of the most widely spoken languages in the country. The use of English has made the social and economic exchange between people of different communities and cultures practically possible . and the knowledge of English opens up a large number of employment opportunities in almost every business domain.” Says Maitreya Doshi
Acknowledging the importance of English education in India has led Maitreya Doshi’s public charity trust the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation to partner with Kings Learning to spread English language education to 500 youth, ranging from CHIP teachers, wait staff, BMC school teachers, beneficiaries from the Women’s India Trust and David Sassoon industrial Home etc. Another specific project undertaken was to to impart Business communication skills to 300 First year Commerce student who attend the night school at the St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
The Foundation supports programs where Kings Learning identifies the most deserving recipients and conceptualized & implemented the English learning program in order to create a lasting impact. “The focus is to impart English education to uplift communities and individuals while fitting in with the larger ethos of the Foundation, which is to enrich the mind through education. The Foundations’ investments are a continuation of its longstanding efforts to foster the education sector.” Says Maitreya Doshi, the Managing Trustee of the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation.
The courses are designed to provide basic practice in using and understanding English language. The lessons were planned in a way keeping in mind the language proficiency, age, local context and traditions of the participants.