Driven by generosity: Philanthropist and an Attorney Yugandrie Maharaj is spreading her angel network of empowerment
In an industry that bears a reputation for being cut throat and status-driven, one attorney has set out to give the legal profession a human face that will inspire others to emulate. Not content just to run a successful and prosperous law firm in Kwa-Zulu, Yugandrie Maharaj, BA (LAW) LLB, has embarked on a journey to spread the paradigm that for a business to be grow and be truly sustainable it needs to have heart, be grounded in people and be profoundly generous.
This journey began with her own journey and Maharaj is not shy to admit that her childhood, especially her formative years were very traumatic. She says, “I was the eldest in a family of three children with an alcoholic father and a simple, humble mother.”
Throughout the 70s and 80s, Maharaj and her family struggled through poverty and unemployment, domestic abuse, personal health issues and the limitations placed on them by apartheid. Instead of succumbing to bitterness, anger and self-pity, she became a feisty activist in the anti-apartheid struggle and later found spiritual sustenance and direction from organisations influenced by the spiritual master, Sri Sri Ravi Shanker.
After much hardship, Maharaj completed her legal studies and 14 years ago become an attorney. Her determination and desire to excel and deepen her knowledge saw Maharaj go on to seek out experience in family & divorce law, commercial law, insolvency law, criminal and civil litigation as well as conveyancing. Her success is most evident in the formidable R10 million property portfolio she has subsequently built.
Despite her success, Maharaj refuses to rest on her laurels. She could not forget the road she had travelled, nor ignore the fact that there are still so many people, particularly women, trapped in poverty, limited by circumstance and the lack of opportunity, and who needed help in shifting their mindsets.
She began by rebranding her firm: Yugandrie Maharaj Incorporated, into the highly successful YMi. As a brand it is now poised to leverage opportunities in:
- Conveyancing and other traditional legal services
- Expert debt counselling
- Developing a franchise model to take debt counselling nationally
- Entrepreneurship programmes for unemployed graduate youth
- Holding knowledge sessions in communities plagued by violence and poverty
Partnering with local municipalities, Maharaj’s social investments have profoundly transformed communities by combining entrepreneurial skills with the spiritual concepts found in meditation; stress release and wellness techniques and yoga. Maharaj has also played a central role in various development initiatives including being a member of the International Association of Human Values; executive director of Sari for Change - a women’s empowerment organisation; and CEO of Life with a Purpose; as well as conducting numerous international courses on self-mastery.
Michelle Mone (OBE), a leading UK designer observed of Maharaj:
“I have experienced Yugandrie as inspiring, dedicated and willing to go the extra mile. She is certainly a leader of leaders and dedicates her time, energy and effort to her vision of inspiring and empowering people of all ages and globally. She is an empowered woman and a role model to many. She will leave a legacy of leadership for generations to come as she takes her message and services to the world.”
Maharaj has taken her own challenging circumstances and not only overcame her victimhood but packaged that experience into an insightful seminar and philosophy entitled: Transform your Health, Wealth & your Life. The write-up of the seminar poignantly sums it up: “Yugandrie Maharaj encourages you to discover your true personal power and innocence and gives you ways to fulfill the unimaginable potential of your unique path in life, by releasing the pain and limitations of past conditioning.”
It is this treasure that she is packing into her suitcase when she represents South Africa this week in the United States (Boston, Atlanta, Florida) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam).
Who is Yugandrie Maharaj ?
- Yugandrie Maharaj was born in Pietermaritzburg
- She matriculated at Silver High Secondary School
- Graduated with her LLB from the University of Westville (UKZN)
- She married Suren Maharaj, a dynamic business entrepreneur
- She has 2 daughters born of the marriage
- Simone: A Bcom Accounting Graduate
- Shaniae: is 15 years of age and currently schooling at Epworth High School
- BA LAW
- DEBT COUNSELLOR
- BUSINESS RESCUE PRACTITIONER
- INSOLVENCY PRACTITIONER
- Mervin Naicker: received experience in criminal and civil litigation
- JI Cohen: received experience in family & divorce law, commercial law, insolvency law and conveyancing.
- Chetty Asmal & Maharaj: received further experience in civil litigation, family & divorce law, insolvency, RAF, medical negligence, collections, wills & estates and conveyancing
- 16 years of experience as an Attorney
- 14 years experience in Conveyancing
- 4 years experience in Debt Counselling
- 1 year experience at a Business Rescue Practitioner
- 3 years experience in marketing and finance
- 14 years experience in business management
Community and Cultural:
- Member of the International Association of Human Values since 2002, whose headquarters are based in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Executive Director of “Sari for Change”- a women empowerment organisation
- CEO of Life with a Purpose, which hosts seminars entitled; Creating Mastery in Women.
- Volunteer of the Art of Living organisation, and has attended more than 30 Art of Silence workshops nationally and internationally.
- Conducted many international courses in the presence of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shanker
- Also travelled in a group with Diana Cooper on many of her courses, the last being to Egypt in 2011
Yugandrie is also:
- Reiki and Karuna Master since 2006
- Executive member of the Msunduzi Racing Club
- Completed oneness international training, and a qualified ‘deeksha’ (blessing giver)
- A master student of ‘The Blissful Living Self Empowerment Programme’ and a hononary member of the Blissful Living Teaching SA networks