By Saurabh Gandhi:
3 million units. Yes, that is the situation of blood shortage in our country, according to a 2012 World Health Organization (WHO) report. With a population of 1.2 billion, it is a shame that we are falling short of the required 12 million blood units annually, being able to collect only 9 million units. Lack of awareness and incorrect information or myths around blood donation in India are cited as the main reasons behind this shortfall.
With over 100 successful donor arrangements in Kolkata, it is this shortfall that an organization called “The Saviours” is trying to bridge. True to their name, it is a life saving registered organization which works towards providing blood donors when blood banks and all other sources are exhausted. Founded by a young college graduate, Kunal Saraff, the organisations’ vision is very simple: “To ensure that no body dies for the want of something that is abundant in everyone’s body.”
It works this way – People who are willing to become voluntary blood donors register with “The Saviours”;Â whenever there is a request for a particular blood group, they are contacted and if available, they donate. “You don’t need to be God to save lives… Be a Saviour”Â – That’s the philosophy that drives them. Anyone who voluntarily donates blood through the organisation is provided with the title of a “Saviour”, along with a certificate stating the details regarding their good deed.
In a free-wheeling chat with me, Kunal shares his motivation behind taking this initiative: “With over 3 million units of blood shortage in India every year, either people are dying for the want of blood or are paying exorbitant price for a single unit. This can range from 5000- 25000 INR, depending upon the availability or the blood type.”
When I ask him how does he plan to get more people sensitized to this reality of blood shortage in the country, he says, “With around 40-50 crore youth population, only if 1-2 % additional youth start donating, this shortage could be eradicated.” It is precisely for this reason that they are trying to get more and more youngsters to register themselves as a voluntary blood donor.
Already in touch with various colleges in the city, Kunal outlines the three ways in which you can help. First and foremost, you can register yourself as a voluntary donor by sending your details (which include your name, blood group, address, contact number, alternative contact number (if any) and your email id) at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also whatsApp the same to 9830148811 or message it to their Facebook page. At present, their operations are restricted to the city of joy, but they are building their database of donors all across the country and look forward to spreading their reach in other parts of the country.
The second level of engagement that you can have with them is by encouraging more and more people to register with them. As an extension of this vision, whenever there is a successful donor arrangement and the beneficiary thanks him, he requests them to ask three more people to register as a donor in order to keep the chain going till we reach a situation that no one dies for shortage of blood. The third level is the one where you can intern with them. They would be choosing a team from various colleges, which would be briefed and trained by them to handle the phone calls and requests. The team would be directly responsible for coordinating with the emergency requests and the donors in the database.
What would Kunal like to say to everyone who is reading this, I ask? “They say “making someone cry with a smile on their faces is the best feeling ever!” Please register with us and save a life. Be the change and belong to the 2% who can actually make a difference to people’s lives”, he says.
An android app named No More Tension has agreed to donate a generous amount of Rs.10 per download to this organization, and swears to bear all the other expenses borne by The Saviours. This is the reason they don’t accept donations from any third party!Â Are you a Saviour? Be one!