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‘Breathe India’: IIT-K grads’ fundraiser for O2 concentrators

Lucknow A group of five IIT Kanpur alumni have started a fund raising drive on a social media platform to buy oxygen concentrators which they will donate to Delhi and Uttar Pradesh governments for distribution in hospitals
UPDATED ON MAY 05, 2021 05:21 PM IST

Lucknow A group of five IIT Kanpur alumni have started a fund raising drive on a social media platform to buy oxygen concentrators which they will donate to Delhi and Uttar Pradesh governments for distribution in hospitals. Their initiative, ‘Breathe India’, has raised more than 3 crore in a week and they are hopeful it will soon touch 4 crore mark. For UP, they have tied up with a Lucknow -based NGO, RightWalk Foundation, headed by Samina Bano, an IIM Bangalore alumna.

On Wednesday, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between KGMU and RightWalk Foundation for donation of oxygen concentrators. The foundation will give 25 units of oxygen concentrators. Of these, 5 units of 10 LPM machines were given today and 15 units of 5 LPM will be given by Friday.

RightWalk Foundation works to implement the Right to Education 12.1(c) and the Apprenticeship Act, 1961. Currently, they are supporting the Covid relief efforts by distributing food kits and other items. With the demand for oxygen being higher than ever before, Dr Suryakant, head of the department pulmonary sciences made an appeal to civil society, on the Lucknow Management Association platform. This appeal was then promoted by Prof Nishi Pandey from the English and Modern European Languages Department, Lucknow University. Later KGMU vice chancellor Lt Gen (Dr) Bipin Puri and programme director, Kush Tripathi of RightWalk Foundation, signed an MoU.

How IIT-K alumni partneredwith Rightwalk Foundation

Ashutosh Ranka, Class of 2017 and four others took to Milaap fund raising platform. They raised more than 3 crore, of which 2.4 cr will be used to meet crisis situation in Delhi and the rest of the money will be used for Uttar Pradesh.

“We decided to get oxygen concentrators for Delhi and tied up with NGO Save Life. Working closely with the Delhi government, we started the fund raiser, Preet India and raised 3 crore in a few days. Now we have placed an order for 300 concerntrators with different vendors,” Ashutosh said.

Road-map for UP

“We decided to expand and in UP we collaborated with RightWalk Foundation. The IIT alumni community also pitched in and we received 10 lakh from the batch of 1985,” Ashutosh said..

“As the number of Covid cases started spiralling in April, the demand for oxygen also went up. Realizing the need, our first step was to quickly finalize suppliers of oxygen concentrators. Our consignments from China and Turkey will be reaching us soon,” said Samina Bano, founder and CEO of RightWalk Foundation.

She added: “RightWalk has a presence across all the 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh, but we have chosen to intervene in 12 districts where Covid has spread like wildfire. These districts are Lucknow, Varanasi, Agra, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Amroha, Prayagraj, Noida, Bareilly, Ghaziabad, Aligarh and Moradabad. We plan to keep a fixed number of oxygen concentrators in each district and offer it to needy people free of cost. The intervention will help in saving 30,000 to 40,000 lives in the next four-six weeks. We also plan to distribute medical and ration kits among Covid-affected families.”

Currently, RightWalk’s fundraiser has raised more than 50 lakhs and counting.

Other organizations join in

The Swasth Foundation and ACT grant combination has sent 50 units of oxygen concentrators (OCs) to Lucknow that are to be distributed through RightWalk. These are in addition to the 135 concentrators RightWalk has procured from China and Turkey. The former is a non-profit social enterprise focused on providing the poor a range of affordable and high-quality primary-preventive health services, while the latter is a movement by India’s startup ecosystem to fight societal problems at scale.

Furthermore, GiveIndia is supporting RightWalk with procurement and deployment of 100 units of 10L OCs and 10 units of 5L OCs in several districts of UP.

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