Amid the ongoing ethnic crisis gripping Manipur, 38-year-old Delhi-based social worker Kiran Verma, who is on his 21,000 km walk across three countries to spread awareness on blood donation, reached Imphal.
“So far I have covered 17,800 km through 230 districts across 18 states/union territories and reached Imphal on Wednesday,” Verma said on Friday, adding that after Imphal, he will move to Churachandpur district before walking through Mizoram, Tripura and other parts of northeast India.
He began his challenging walk from Thiruvananthapuram on December 28, 2021, a time when Covid-19 pandemic wilted in the country.
“This walk is going to be the longest blood awareness campaign ever by an individual in the world” which will run for more than 2 years,” he said, adding that his mission is to spread awareness about blood donation among people so that “nobody should die waiting for blood in India after 31st December 2025”.
Owing to COVID voluntary blood donation in India has gone significantly down since the last three years, Verma said his walk is also to encourage around 5 million new blood donors to donate blood, so that blood banks and hospitals don't run dry on blood.
On the prolonged violence Manipur has been witnessing since the last over seven months, he requested the people to “save lives” and “give blood wherever possible.”
Highlighting certain breakthrough activities during his mission, Verma said on June 19 this year he walked in three nations -Bangladesh, India and Nepal- in a single day through Siliguri corridor, a unique record made by any Indian.
To support his walk 126-blood donation camps have been organized in different part of the country through which over 26,722 units of blood has been collected, the social worker said, continuing that he also encountered a battery of ill-started incidents during his lone walk mostly in streets along jungles.
Over 9000 individual blood donors have also donated blood in their personal capacity at different blood banks across India and abroad to support this campaign, he added.
On September 15 last year Verma inaugurated a blood bank in Hyderabad under the name of PV Narasimha Rao’s name built by the later Prime Minister’s family members.
Ahead of his current campaign, Verma founded “Change With One Foundation” under which he runs two programs “Simply Blood” and Change “With One Meal.”
“Simply Blood”, the world’s first virtual blood donation platform, connecting blood donors and seekers real time (just like Uber) without charging anything to anyone was launched on January 29, 2017 and till date they saved over 70,000 potential lives through blood donation.
“Change With One Meal is an initiative where we serve unlimited meals for Rs.10 in Delhi. Till date we have served more than 1,500,000 meals in the last one year,” said Verma.
In 2018, Verma also traveled 16,000 km across India covering more than 6,000 km on foot only for the same cause.
He said more than 12,000 people fail to get blood in India every day, due to which more than 3 million people died waiting for blood. If 5 million youth start donating blood, then there will be not even a single death due to non-availability of blood in India.
Recently every person must have gone through ‘Plasma Crisis’ during the second wave of Covid. Also there is a huge blood shortage in blood banks across India as people are scared of donating blood at hospitals.
“It all happened as we don’t have a culture of donating blood in our country India,” said Verma.
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