A KSRTC Bus Conductor is Utilising Social Media to Mobilize Blood Donations in Kerala
In today’s world, many people understand the power of social media. With the invention of social media, the entire world has come under one umbrella where sharing your views, thought, images, or even telling people where you are is just a mouse click away. With a lot of free and interesting information being available on the internet, people have enclosed themselves in a virtual world where interactions are confined to chats and comments. This has an adverse impact on mankind. Despite its flaws, people continue to be a part of social media. Then why not utilise it for something good?
“People won’t come out in public and listen. You have to reach them and what could be the best method for this other than reaching out to them via social media,” says Vinod Bhaskaran, a KSRTC bus conductor and the person behind the initiative Blood Donors Kerala (BDK).
Vinod, who has been brought up in a family where love and affection towards the needy have always been a priority, started this initiative to bring about a social change in Kerala by trying to use the wide reach of social media. He started a Facebook group ‘We Help’ in order to facilitate social causes like blood donation drives, provide health tips, helping poor children learn, helping those interested in PSC coaching, etc. However, understanding the importance of blood donation and the serious approach it requires, he started BDK.
BDK, which is now a charitable trust, gained momentum at a fast pace. So much so that it has a branch in every district in the State and in foreign countries as well. The operations of BDK are thoroughly planned because the requirement for blood and its quantity is unexpected. However, Vinod and his team have the perfect structure to deal with all that.
Explaining how they work to fulfill the requirement for blood, Vinod says, “We have district-wise Whatsapp groups and Facebook pages, through which the contact details of our co-ordinators are circulated. On receiving blood requirement from a patient’s relatives, our co-ordinator first collects their essential details including the blood group, patient’s name, the hospital where the patient is admitted, and the contact details of the bystander. We send a Whatsapp message or post a message on our Facebook page by incorporating these details, through which we begin our search for blood donors. This is how we arrange donors on time. BDK undertakes all these activities without expecting any monetary compensation,” he says.
“Moreover, the support and cooperation I get from my team is tremendous. As it is a trust, there needs to be an organisational structure but here no one is a higher authority or a volunteer. All of us are the same. We stand for a common motive – people who approach us with the need of blood will be taken care of,” he added.
Apart from this, BDK conducts blood donation camps, blood donation awareness programmes, seminars and data collection camps. BDK also conducts Sneha Sadhya, an initiative to feed the needy, wherein the members of the trust gather together to prepare food, pack it neatly, and give it to the bystanders of patients at various hospitals including Trivandrum Regional Cancer Centre. They also get donations from well-wishers throughout the world who give a portion of the money spent for any of the celebrations at their home to the needy and those who are starving. As soon as BDK receives the money, they buy the necessary items, prepare the food and give it to the people in need.
The trust has also launched initiatives like Sneha Puthappu, through which they arrange neat bed sheets for patients in government hospitals. And Sneha Kilukkam, through which BDK collects toys and chocolates from its well-wishers and give them to children affected by cancer at RCC, Trivandrum.
They also arrange visits to places with tribal populations and donate food and clothes to the people there. Vinod says that government authorities are deputed to do these things and most of the time they just consider it as a job. However, the people who live in these areas need the right amount of consideration and a space to speak out their problems. BDK also takes care to not publicize what they are doing and make sure that none of the beneficiaries are photographed.
The activities of We Help as well as BDK are progressing with the funds collected through donations. Many people who BDK has helped, approach the trust later to give them donations or volunteer to provide food for orphanages or destitute homes.
Vinod manitains that “God definitely helps those who have a heart to help others’’.
He feels this could be the reason why the trust is smoothly running without any aid from the government. BDK has also been successful in building a good contact database that is helping them find donors.
“Even though there are many people in society who are completely healthy, they disagree to donate their blood due to trivial reasons. However, the numbers of people who know the value of a life are more and so people approach us with the heart to donate blood as well,” he says.
You can learn more about BDK on their Facebook page.