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Parinaam Foundation is aiming to double the number of people who have benefited from its work to one million by 2020. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint (Hemant Mishra/Mint)
Parinaam Foundation is aiming to double the number of people who have benefited from its work to one million by 2020. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint (Hemant Mishra/Mint)

Parinaam Foundation: Driven by a passion to serve the needy

Anonymous surveys are conducted at Parinaam Foundation to gauge the employees feedback, says chief executive Mallika Ghosh

Bengaluru: It was 1996, and the Ghosh family had just returned to India after spending over a decade in the Middle East. The family decided to build a home in Whitefield, an upscale neighbourhood in Bengaluru, and that’s where career banker Elaine Ghosh interacted with migrant workers.

She was introduced to a world she didn’t know much of. It took almost three years to build the home and that laid the foundation for what would go on to become an organization working for the urban poor to spread financial literacy, help with healthcare, and try and send their children to school.

Now, Bengaluru-based Parinaam Foundation has a former advertising professional at its helm and has benefited more than 500,000 beneficiaries. The non-profit, which completes a decade of operations next year, is aiming to double the number of people who have benefited from its work to one million by 2020.

“I don’t think I have struggled at all," says Mallika Ghosh, Elaine’s daughter and the current executive director. Born in Mumbai and brought up in the Middle East, she studied at boarding schools and colleges in the UK and the US. Her only interactions with anyone remotely belonging to the socio-economic section she works with today were with her maid and driver, she says.

Her love for children led the former head of the film division (south India) at media firm McCann Erickson to leave the corporate world behind (in 2010) and join Parinaam, where she continues to serve all those Elaine wanted to.

The thought of serving the poor began when Mallika’s father Samit Ghosh started microfinance firm (now a small finance bank) Ujjivan Financial Services Ltd in 2005.

The two now work in tandem, helping each other but with no organizational overlaps.

At least 100 of the employees serving full time at Parinaam are from Ujjivan.

The NGO pays corporate salaries to a majority of its staff while working for the less fortunate in society.

Parinaam’s workforce is driven by the passion to serve those in need.

The field workers are given (if required) the same benefits as those they serve.

Mallika says she pays her staff more than most of its peers, does mid-year and annual reviews, gets audited by Great Place to Work, a certification agency, and conducts anonymous surveys to gauge the employees feedback.

Parinaam was ranked 38 among the top 50 Great Mid-Size Workplaces in 2017. In 2015 and 2016, it was nominated one of India’s Top Five NGOs to Work For by Great Place to Work.

The company’s flagship urban ultra-poor programme was named Asia-Pacific winner of the 2013 Financial Times and Citi Ingenuity Awards: Urban Ideas in Action Programme.

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