In conversation with Sonam Khurana (Founder of Helpdonate.in) - a portal dedicated to blood donation as an important cause
The whole idea is to create an easy, trustworthy and a reliable network of donors, as well as to grow together with hospitals, blood-banks, and supporting organizations : Sonam Khurana
1. What is Helpdonate?
Helpdonate is a platform that connects voluntary blood donors to those who need blood on the basis of their location. The whole idea is to create an easy, trustworthy and a reliable network of donors, as well as to grow together with hospitals, blood-banks, and supporting organizations. With continuous struggle to meet the demand for blood units, we aim to solve the nationwide problem of blood shortage in the country. Helpdonate has garnered approximately 5000 volunteers registered with us and has created a platform for thousands of potential blood donors and recipients to meet and donate. Now, finding a blood donor is just a few clicks away.
2. What triggered you to start Helpdonate?
I always believe that helping a fellow human is a true nature of humanity. I have been actively involved in volunteering for various social causes ever since I was in my college. And I always wanted to do something for the society but I wasn't clear what to do. And later on once this incident happened when one of my very close friend was hospitalised and she was suffering from dengue and we were looking for A- blood donor for her which apparently only 16% of the population has. We had difficulties in finding blood donor for her that made me realise the potential of this idea. And after that I did my research and understood that there is approximately 20% continued blood deficit in India. Inspite of consistent increase in blood units collected year on year, India still faces significant shortfall. Against 9.8 million blood units collected in 2012-13, 11.45 million units of blood were collected in 2017-18, against the requirement of 13.4 million blood units, which is clearly 2 million blood units shortfall. This continued struggle made me realise the power of this idea and stick to this goal and that’s when we created Helpdonate.
3. What is your take on India had the greatest absolute unmet blood unit need?
This is indeed true for India because blood banks are far and few with so many towns without a single blood bank. Also India doesn’t have a culture of regular blood donation and hence supply is always lagging demand. Despite all the efforts and progress, India continues to struggle to meet the demand for blood units. Situation is more alarming in towns beyond top 10 cities of India where blood infrastructure is broken and arranging timely blood could be a nightmare. We aim to solve this by encouraging people to donate blood regularly, also by connecting donors with blood seekers by leveraging technology and social media and eventually also contributing in developing blood bank infrastructure far and wide in every town of India.
4. How do you perceive Women entrepreneurs and see the growth in the startup ecosystem?
In the Indian startup industry, roughly 10% are female founders. But this is growing and there is a significant rise in the number of female entrepreneurs especially from Tier-I and Tier-II cities, building start ups off late. Women entrepreneurs are competing on par with everyone and reaching great heights in their respective fields. We have many such examples like founders of MobiKwik, Sheroes, FableStreet, Infibeam, Zivame, Nykaa etc. Indian start up ecosystem has become more mature and accepting of female founders. People are not shy of working with female founders.This trend is only going to go up with success of some of these female entrepreneurs.
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