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'My car earns money while I stay at home'

Daizy Maan with her 'hard working' car Jagraj Source: Supplied

Daizy Maan, a passionate supporter of Australian startups and social enterprise, believes that the current COVID crisis has helped many people re-imagine how they 'do more' while staying at home. And her faith in one start-up has paid off so well, that the profit generated is being donated to three separate charities.

Although Daizy Maan’s day job requires her to oversee start-ups at Melbourne’s Deakin University, she has always had a soft corner for new ideas.

“I’ve always been an early adopter of start-ups, especially the Australian ones. So when I first heard of Car Next Door, I was among the first people to give it a go,’ she tells SBS Punjabi.


Highlights:

  • By 'renting out' her car Daizy Maan has earned as much money as she spent buying it
  • This year, due to the COVID pandemic, all profits are being donated to charities in Australia and India
  • 'I believe the concept of ‘sewa’ (service) shouldn’t be limited to our temples and gurudwaras'

It is based on a simple concept that car owners can “rent out” their cars for a short or long term, through an app service. Ms Maan says, it has truly paid off for her.

“Well, I bought my little car (fondly named Jagraj) for roughly $4,000 when I was a 19-year-old. I hardly drive it now since I live very close to Melbourne CBD and it made sense to rent it out. I didn't think anyone would be interested in it, but to my surprise, I kept receiving bookings for it."

Food drive organised by Har Hath Kalam in Patiala, India
Food drive organised by Har Hath Kalam in Patiala, India
Supplied

"I have earned almost as much money renting it out, as I initially paid for buying it,” she says.

But for Ms Maan, it wasn’t as much about pocketing this money, as it was about investing the profits in her other passion – supporting the community, helping social enterprise, and donating to charities.

“This year I’ve decided that any profit I earn from renting out my car will be split three ways to support three separate charities – the Kindness Project, Chhoti si Asha and Har Hath Kalam,” she says.

Elaborating on this, Ms Maan says, “The Kindness Project supports international students in need. This is especially important during the current pandemic, as many students are running out of money to pay for their fees, rent, and other basic necessities, and can’t burden their parents in India for more funds. It is run by Pooja Lohana, through a Facebook group called Indians in Melbourne. ”

Women artisans at Chhoti si Asha in India
Women artisans at Chhoti si Asha in India
Supplied

The other two charities that she’s directing her profit this year are based in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

“I visited India earlier this year and spent two months in Punjab, where I met youth leaders who are doing a lot for education, culture, and entrepreneurship. They have the vision to transform Punjab into a land of Hope, Courage, and Possibilities over the next 30 years."

"That’s when I got introduced to the empowerment project in Patiala called Har Hath Kalam (a pen for every hand). During the current COVID crisis, they are helping out daily wagers and slum dwellers.”

A workshop being run by Punjab Youth Leaders in Patiala
A workshop being run by Punjab Youth Leaders in Patiala, India
Supplied

Similarly, Chhoti si Asha (A tiny wish) is a Chandigarh based social enterprise that aims to empower women.

“Basically they provide gainful employment to women who would otherwise have no means or opportunity to earn. At the moment, the women are hand-making Rakhis for the upcoming festival in early August, and in fact, I’ve placed a large order for a separate fund-raiser I’ve organised for them.”

Artisan Beena Aunty, of Chhoti si Asha
Artisan Beena Aunty, of Chhoti si Asha
Supplied

Ms Maan’s message is simple: "I believe the concept of ‘sewa’ (service) shouldn’t be limited to our temples and gurudwaras. We should go out there and help others in need. During the pandemic, you can provide online support to any start-up, charity, or social enterprise, so I encourage everyone to do so.”

In the meanwhile, is she planning to buy another car to increase her profits?

“I thought about it, but the parking in Melbourne CBD is too expensive,” she laughs.

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