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Turning social networking site into a 'blood booth'

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow, July 1, 2012, DHNS:
Two teenagers donate blood in Varanasi.

With her masters degree in human resource and marketing management, she could very well have opted for a career with some multi-national corporation with a handsome pay package, but she had better ideas to utilise the human resource and that too with the help of the social networking sites.

Young Mohita Keshari has used her expertise in marketing and human resource in motivating youths of the holy city of  Varanasi to render a very important service to society. She has been motivating the youths to donate blood. In the past one year, Mohita has been able to persuade over 200 people, mostly youths, to donate blood.

More importantly, she has an army of people who are ready to donate  blood at any time. “I have hundreds of people who are in my group and are available any time for donating their blood,” Mohita told Deccan Herald from Varanasi.

Mohita and her group organise camps at regular intervals in which the members as well as others take part in large numbers and donate their blood. “More than 200 units of blood have been donated  since  our first camp in June 2011,” she said.

Incidently, Mohita has used the powerful social networking sites to spread her message and motivate the people. “The USP of our donation camps is that we are using powerful social networking websites for promoting these camps which has helped in better participation of the youths,” said the woman behind the mission.

“I was not very sure of success when I began my efforts to garner support of the people through these sites. But I was surprised at the response. Today, we have 4,000 donors ready to give blood at any time,” she said adding that her emphasis is mainly on including youths in the age group of 12 to 28 in her team.

“Our group has college students, those preparing for competitive examinations and also those, who are searching for jobs. The contact numbers of the group members are also there on the social
networking site. Any needy person may also contact the donors directly,” Mohita said.

Whenever there is a requirement of blood, we make an appeal on the site and the response is very quick. “Within no time there is a long queue of donors at the camps,” she said. Mohita also regularly visits schools and colleges to motivate the youngsters to contribute in this noble
mission. She also formed an NGO last year mainly with this purpose.

Asked why she chose to work in the social sector when she could easily have joined some good private concern at a good salary package, she said: “I wanted to prove that the marketing and HR
degree can also be utilised in the development sector.”

On whether she has the backing of her family, Mohita, who is unmarried, said that her family never opposed her ideas. “My family always supported me in my endeavors and provided all possible help as well,” she added. Mohita is  not fully satisfied with what she has been able to achieve so far. There is still a long way to go, she pointed out. “Family/replacement donors still provide more than 45 per cent of the blood collected in the country,” she said. “It is therefore essential for us to
promote voluntary blood donation among the common masses.”

“We are working for raising the participation of young people and women
towards social causes, their rights, health and civil society building. We regularly
organise several events on different occasions like Population Day, World AIDS Day, International Women’s Day to remark the link of these events witht the population in general,” said Mohita.
In 2009, Mohita launched a progra­mme to initiate knowledge and capacity building among young bi-cycle rickshaw pullers for HIV/AIDS. The project  “Aarambh” (beginning) is dedicated towards building the knowledge and capacity on HIV/AIDS and reproductive health of highly marginalised and socially excluded community of bi-cycle rickshaw pullers in India.

“We are focusing on creating and spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health through the use of multi-media and other material.  The awareness created by the project would result in demand generation by the community for the services like condoms, contraception, STDs/STIs clinical facilities etc,” she said. In spite of such a potential importance of this population in the context of the HIV epidemic in India, there is little intervention activities toward this population, she pointed out. “We, therefore, came up with Aarambh on the HIV-related risk behaviour of rickshaw pullers in Uttar Pradesh,” she added.


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