Bangalore: Elaine Marie Ghosh, who transformed the lives of hundreds of women, the so-called urban poor, under the aegis of her far sighted city based Parinaam Foundation that she launched in 2006, passed away in Mumbai on Thursday.
Discharged from hospital after taking ill a few weeks ago, she had been under medication over the last few days and seemed to have been improving when the end came early on Thursday morning, say her employees, greatly saddened by her sudden death.
“The sudden demise of our founder director is very sad. She was an inspiration to us and every one who associated with Parinaam. A perfectionist, she was the pillar of the foundation, with a very clear vision for it,” they said.
Ghosh, a former banker with Citibank, worked closely with her husband Samit Ghosh, also an ex Citibanker, who launched the microfinance institution, Ujjivan Financial Services, drawing inspiration from the Nobel prize winning Mohammed Yunus who did much the same for the rural poor in Bangladesh with Grameen Bank.
Together, the Ghoshes worked in tandem alongside their daughter Mallika, to provide poor women an education and much needed health care through India’s transformational Grameen.
Aware that the needs of the urban poor are very different from their counterparts in rural areas and that they are surrounded by a society which is affluent with a variety of goods and services they can never access, Parinaam under Ghosh, helped them reach their aspirations and goals by conducting livelihood programmes and giving them an education. “We teach them about basic mathematics related to their savings and loans,” explains an employee.
The ultimate number cruncher was always the warm Elaine, with a mind like a steel trap and a sense of humour that melted even the steeliest of opponents.
She is survived by her husband Samit, sons Sailen and Nihal and daughter Mallika.