Published: 17th June 2021
How Entrepreneurs of Kolkata came together to help the city breathe when it was being choked by COVID
With their initiative, Breathe Again, they are partnering with leading government and private hospitals or organisations to provide facilities like beds, oxygen cylinders and more
In the last week of April, when the second wave of the pandemic was at its record high and COVID positive patients were struggling to get beds with oxygen or ventilators. That's when a few of Kolkata’s leading entrepreneurs came together to form what they would like to call a rapid action force. Entrepreneurs of Kolkata (EOK), a group comprising business individuals and start-ups, came together with the aim of combatting COVID's second wave in a much more organised and swift manner in West Bengal.
EOK is run by a core group of 12 individuals, and has more than 100 other entrepreneurs as volunteers, who are bringing in agility, quick thinking, and crowdfunding to fight the virus. Partnering with government and private hospitals or organisations to provide facilities like beds, oxygen cylinders, ICU and ventilator beds, they've really saved lives. "We have all been getting frantic calls separately from a lot of people and that's when we decided to come together as a single organisation and help people. We connected over an informal Zoom call and decided to go ahead with this. Our target was also to raise funds to provide these facilities, initial target had been a million, which we have successfully fulfilled now starting from April. We aren't like a registered body or don't wish to be either, however, we would be like Superman — whenever our city needs any help with something be it a pandemic, natural disaster or anything, we would be ready to wear our capes," Aditya Ladsaria, Founder & CEO of the famous tea chain Chai Break and also a founding member of EOK, tells us.
Beds set up by EOK at a hospital in Kolkata | Pic: EOK
The team has been working closely with numerous hospitals in Kolkata, including Anandaloke Hospital, Calcutta Heart Clinic, Jain Hospital and many more. Until now, EOK has already created more than 275 critical care beds, over 225 ICU beds, and donated about 850 life-saving machines such as ventilators, hi-flow oxygen machines, concentrators, etc. "Apart from this, we have also created a EOK Medical Help WhatsApp group where people can post their hospital bed requirements. We have been helping on an average 40 to 50 people on a daily basis to get admission in various hospitals of Kolkata. Our hospital warriors team, led by Vikash Birla, along with several other volunteers, has been working round the clock for the last 25 days in helping people get admission," adds Aditya.
The team raised money through crowdfunding on Milaap. "We also partnered with another platform that made our funding process easier. It was really a citizen-led movement. Every Saturday of the week, we conducted open sessions where our donors could ask questions, come up with suggestions to help us out. This helped us to be extremely transparent and we got a lot of donations in order to make possible what we have achieved today," concludes Aditya.
You can visit their website www.eok.org.in for more details and if you wish to help out.
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