By Bhamini Ghulati:
Born and brought up in Kolkata, Kunal went to Delhi to pursue a Bachelor’s in Business Management. After graduation, he returned to Kolkata and had started working on his own tech project, when one day, his maternal grandfather met with an accident and was admitted to a hospital. He had lost a lot of blood. But despite being admitted to a premier hospital, there was a shortage of even the most common blood type.
Ultimately Kunal’s relatives came to the rescue and donated blood, but the incident greatly disturbed him. “I was shocked to learn that in a country with over 65 crore eligible donors, we are not able to meet the yearly demand of one crore blood units. We are falling short by 30 lakh units!” shares Kunal, who was just 21 at the time.
The incident ignited something deep within him and he was determined to ensure others did not suffer the consequences of blood shortage. So, in August 2014, he started The Saviours, an organisation that would work in the field of emergency blood donation. Launched through a Facebook page, the enterprising young Kunal also tied up with a hospital, and helped out by arranging blood donors. Starting out with a database of just 10 emergency donors, he connected them to those in need, and in a span of one and a half years, managed to arrange 500+ donor arrangements during emergencies. Typically, a blood request is received on the Facebook page, or on the phone and the request team gets to work and does not stop till they find the right donor in the vicinity of the requester.
Donor camps at college campuses is a key way to attract new donors. During a recent one at the Technia Institute of Advanced Studies in Delhi, 77 people including faculty donated blood and registered! So far they have organised five such camps in the last four months and the ultimate aim is to have a team of ‘Saviours’ in every college. Kunal’s initiative has managed to inspire 200 student leaders across four cities to support the mission and their efforts are paying off, slowly but surely; to date, 15000+ people have been registered as emergency blood donors.
“We plan to have the largest and the fastest emergency donor database in India and convert it into an automated web portal, where anyone who needs blood could simply find it by typing the location and blood group,” says Kunal, now 23, who lives by the philosophy that when you help others the universe conspires to help you.
Hopefully, Kunal’s story will now inspire others to make the change by joining the donor revolution and pledging to donate blood to someone in need.