Published: 21st December 2017
With 24X7 helpline, this B'luru boy will make sure that you get a blood donor within an hour
People who are willing to become blood donors register with the organisation and are contacted whenever there is a request for a particular blood group
He might be just 17, but Chethan M Gowda has done something extraordinary and wants to pass along a powerful message that no life should go in vain due to blood scarcity. At 16, he set up Khoon, an NGO that works towards providing blood donors when blood banks and all other sources are exhausted. Founded in May 2016, their mission is to ensure that no life is lost due to blood scarcity. People who are willing to become blood donors register with the organisation and are contacted whenever there is a request for a particular blood group.
"We are trying to find new ways to tackle the problem of shortage of blood donation in the country. We organise multiple blood donation camps and create awareness regarding the need for blood donors. We also conduct theme-based blood donation camps as a way to attract more youngsters towards this noble cause," says Chethan.
But what inspired him to take up such a huge responsibility at this age in the first place? Chethan’s reason will warm even the coldest heart for sure. "I started Khoon when I lost one of my favourite teachers because they couldn't procure blood at the right time. After that I decided to take up the responsibility of educating people on the importance of blood donation and founded Khoon," he tells us.
Meet the changemakers: Chethan and his many volunteers have impacted more than 50,000 lives
Through the organisation, Chethan and his many volunteers have impacted more than 50,000 lives. They also set up a helpline earlier this year and have received thousands of phone calls from across the country. "We do have a 24x7 helpline service across India, so if anyone requires blood, they can reach out to us. We make sure that we find a donor within a maximum time of one hour,” assures Chethan.
Adding that he also carries out research projects on blood donation, he says, "One such project is where we are working towards reducing blood wastage. There are only 350 ml and 450 ml packets of blood units available, there are no 50 ml or 100 ml packets. So, when it comes to a paediatric blood transfusion for a newborn, then the maximum amount of blood which might be used is 50 ml and the remaining 300-odd ml of blood goes to waste. We are conducting a research project on this to figure out a solution."
They have recently started an initiative for the LGBTQ community, where they are working with the community to make sure that people can procure blood whenever required. The blood is provided free of cost to those who can't afford to pay
They have recently started an initiative for the LGBTQ community, where they are working with the community to make sure that people can procure blood whenever required. Currently, Khoon is working in five cities and is the first blood donation-related NGO to be working in the northeast. "The helpline is active across India, but when it comes to on-ground activities, we are present in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Assam. We are planning to expand pan-India by the end of 2018," says the 17-year-old.
The organisation strives to make blood available to the needy at its actual price, unlike the inflated rates often quoted by private blood banks. "The prices quoted by some private blood banks can go up to `25,000 in case of emergencies, depending on the blood group. We are also trying to bring an end to the involvement of the mafia, which is going on in the blood donation sector," he adds.
Khoon is one of the seven organisations collaborating with Facebook to help locate blood donors and notify them in case of requests. The organisation also runs a monthly magazine, The BLOODy Citizen, through which they try to educate the public about blood donation and any latest research on blood donation.