These Engineers Program Life Too


Sankalp India Foundation Organizes Blood Donation Drives | Set Up Thalassemia Center in 2011

Bangalore: Many years ago, a person's death due to unavailability of blood stirred the conscience of four engineering students. The quartet resolved to ensure that no one died due to shortage of blood. Thus was born the Sankalp India Foundation(SIF) on May 23,2003.

Ten years on, the foundation has now expanded the frontiers of its service. "When we started as a small group, we used to go and tell blood banks to inform us when there was shortage of blood. Initially they didn't take us seriously. Later when they got to know how serious we were, we started getting several requests," says Rakesh Dhanya, secretary SIF.

The organization now has around 25 volunteer-members, who are basically engineers with software companies. The SIF maintains a list of regular donors who can be contacted anytime. In 2006, they managed to launch a helpline for people from within Bangalore which was commissioned as a state-level helpline by 2008.

"We have tied up with 60 blood banks across the state. Every morning, we take stock of the blood position in banks," says Rakesh. When they get a call, SIF volunteers guide the person to the nearest blood bank. The helpline now receives 30 to 40 requests daily.

SIF also organizes blood donation drives. "Over the past five years, we have organized more than 300 drives across Karnataka, leading to a collection of about 35,000 units of blood. I talk to companies and colleges and organize drives on campuses," says Lalith Parmar, a volunteer. "We have regular donors for even the rare Bombay Blood Group," says Rakes, adding they have sent blood to places such as Istanbul.

The life-saving mission is now growing into a life-building one as well. From carrying out relief work in disaster-hit areas to inculcating love for the nation in young minds through initiatives like Project Tiranga, the group is involved in nation-building at many levels. "The change that SIF brought in me was simple - from a constant nag to a busy individual," says Rajat Agarwal, a volunteer.

To ensure proper blood transfusion, medical tests and medicines to children suffering from thalassemia, SIF set up a Thalassemia Day Care Centre at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health in November 2011. "Children who suffer from thalassemia have to undergo blood transfusion every 20 days. They come from various places, even outside the state. Many parents are daily wage workers and at times don't have money to even travel till here. We provide them with help for that too," saya Kumari Ankita, in charge of the centre.

Using technology to connect with global donors and keep record of donors and beneficiaries, the centre that started with 60 kids now has around 170 children. "Working with SIF shows it is not the number of people but their passion and commitment that makes the big difference," Lalith signs off rightly.