Teacher’s death moves boy to launch blood donation network

Teacher’s death moves boy to launch blood donation network

Members of the Khoon team.

Chethan M Gowda was 16 when he saw one of his favourite teachers being wheeled away into a hearse. He was devastated when he came to know his teacher had died for want of blood. 

But Chethan didn’t just cry and forget the incident. He launched Khoon, an organisation to promote blood donation.

In September 2016, when he started out, he didn’t know how exactly blood camps worked. “The local bodies we had initially associated with wanted to make it political,” he says. When he resisted the idea, he was blocked from public venues. “A week after that, I tried organising a camp. It got a low turnout of 40 donors,”  he recalls.

At this point, Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital came into the picture. Khoon took its next camp to the hospital, and Chethan had by then decided on a theme to draw in young people.

The theme of the camp was love. Khoon created a big beating heart and filled the place with red balloons. “We also staged skits,” he says. The response was overwhelming: 280 people turned up and donated blood.

Khoon now has a database of 80,000 donors. Over two years, it has collaborated with organisations such as the Karnataka AIDS Prevention Society and Procamp Foundation. Chethan likes to work with blood banks at government hospitals. “They charge a fourth of what other blood banks do. We are associated with Bowring, Victoria and organisations with a service objective,” he explains.

It hasn’t been easy. His parents cautioned him: he was just 16 when he started Khoon, and being a science student, he had academic pressures to deal with.

He did well in academics and got a medical seat. “But I choose to focus on social work as it was dear to my heart,” Chethan says.

His sister Shilpa is a doctor and has been a constant support, advising him on many medical matters. Khoon has conducted eight camps in Bengaluru, and was the first to take the idea to malls such as Orion and Mantri. It has also set up a 24x7 helpline.

Many organisations are funding Chethan’s efforts now.

In March last year, he gave a TEDx talk. “I spoke about how youth can change society,” he says. He received a standing ovation, and says it was the proudest moment of his life.

Chethan wants to make Khoon a one-stop solution for all blood-related needs. His team is working on an app, also called Khoon. It will be out by mid-May.


Call 24/7
Khoon can be contacted on 9538244183. The helpline is active round the clock. The group works from an office in Jahnvi Social Welfare Foundation, No 732, 1st floor, 6th cross, JB Layout, Kengeri.

Ready to donate
Khoon has a database of 80,000 donors.