Born in Nepal and raised by a strong mother, I was always taught to follow my dreams. And that’s what I did. I came to the US in 2002, graduated from an Ivy League University, and landed a job in New York City. What more did a girl from Nepal need? That’s what I thought until I met Maya.
I met Maya when both of us were trying to find a place for ourselves in corporate culture in New York City. We were reminded by our bosses, “People here are hard to please. You have to work really hard to impress them and earn their respect.”
I had accepted that culture. I was working for my own gain, and my goal was to impress our executives and managers until…Maya joined and started questioning the system. “Respect is a two-way street, if we are to earn their respect, they need to learn to give that respect to us too. Nobody should demand respect.”
Her words had a profound effect on me. I asked myself, “Why did not I ever think that I deserve the same level of respect that I was willing to give to others?” One day, I built up enough courage to walk away from an environment that was not letting me evolve as a woman that I wanted to be.
Before I bid goodbye to Maya, I told her, “If your one-sentence could give me so much strength to fight back and follow my dreams; imagine how many Mayas are out there who can inspire and uplift others?”
She smiled and replied, “Go, explore the world, sister. Find them”
Since then, I have worked and traveled in different countries and met several Mayas — Silvia in Haiti, Mahima in Cambodia, Priya in India, Sana in Indonesia, Maria in Chile.
Silvia is a travel photographer, Mahima opened her own restaurant, Priya is a mother of two children. Sana comes from an orthodox Muslim family, yet she fought with her father to travel, Maria works as an international development consultant….and so on.
They all come from different backgrounds and are in different paths of their lives. Yet, what is common amongst them is their willingness to accept others as they are and readiness to help and uplift others.
Why this initiative?
Unfortunately, we cannot travel to every country and find these Mayas. We are in search of such people via social media. They might be in different worlds, different cultures – but what is common is their willingness to narrate their stories to uplift others.
It is a Herculean task, but I am hopeful because several men and women have come forward and offered to help to accomplish this goal.
Who is Maya?
Maya is someone with a story. Maya can be a man or a woman. Mayas stand up for themselves and never apologize for who they are. They are compassionate and kind and are willing to put themselves out there to tell their story to the world.
Do you have any interesting story about yourself, your parent, or anyone that has inspired you? If so, please share. If your account is selected, we can help you write and edit your story, and we will feature your story on our website!
Please note, all your information and pictures that you share will be made public on this website.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line ‘Finding Maya’ if you would like us to cover your story. Or you can send a direct message on Instagram or Facebook page as well.
And do not forget to explore our website to read more stories.