Friends, Strangers Helped Victims With Blood, Funds
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11 February 2011
By Neha Madaan
After the initial shock, Aman Singh Sethi, a student of Symbiosis Law School, started the blast victims support initiative to release information about the affected and organise blood for those in the hospitals.
"I realised that there would be dire need for blood and information about blast victims. I tied up with pune.aarogya.com. Donors who registered on the site were informed about when and where their blood type was needed. Members of the Rotract Club of Symbiosis Law School as well as the human rights’ cell of the college joined us. We managed to arrange for over 400 donors in the first two days," said Sethi.
Five of Sethi’s friends were injured in the blast. "In spite of the authorities’ efforts, there was confusion in the nearby hospitals given the number of victims who were rushed there. There was shortage of blood at various hospitals and citizens were called upon to donate. The list of wounded indicated that some people did not have support and were struggling for their lives. Students began hourly updates on blood requirements," Sethi added.
That was a year ago. The website is still at work, asking people to donate blood and to register on the site. "We tied up with Maharashtra State Blood Transfusion Council. The website had the necessary information such as blood banks and quantity of blood available. Anybody looking for donors can email or sms the donors via the website and make a request. The service is still up and running," said Tushar Sampat, director of Aarogya.
The ‘Rebuilding German Bakery’ initiative aimed at bringing people together to help get the eatery going and put up a united front against terrorism. It started on Facebook. "My group was not the first, but it definitely spread the message of unity among the youth, building confidence in citizens and helping the victims in whatever way possible," said founder Shrinath Navghane.
The group coordinated efforts for raising funds for some victims and attempted to connect with the eatery’s supporters from around the world. It also organised a peace march and candlelight vigil in the days following the blast.
"More than 400 students participated and it led to other initiatives in Pune. The group has been updating members on anything connected with terror blasts and emergency phone numbers of authorities. We update our page with messages of peace," said Navghane.
A few months after the blast, the group appealed to supporters to send money directly to the victims via their Facebook group. "All activities were tracked and managed by group volunteers. Unfortunately, not a lot of funds were raised by Indian supporters as compared to generous donations by foreigners. One of our Canadian supporters organised a fund raiser," added Navghane. A peace march has been planned for Sunday.
Another group has kept memories of friends they lost in the blast alive.
Group member Nilesh Agrawal said, "We were friends with Anindyee Dhar, one of the 17 victims. We carry out awareness initiatives so that people do not forget February 13, 2010. So many of us lost those we loved."
The group had organised a condolence meet and a blood donation camp in Kolkata where Anindyee came from. About three months ago, the group had organised a photo exhibition on the blast victims. A candlelight vigil has been planned for Sunday.