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Chandigarh Team Wins World Economic Forum Challenge With Blood Donation App

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Chandigarh Team Wins World Economic Forum Challenge With Blood Donation App
Providing a link between blood donors and those in dire need has enabled a team from Chandigarh to bag the $50,000 Global Shapers challenge initiated by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Over 1,200 entries were submitted from across the world for the challenge.

Called Kalpa Vriksha, the divine tree of giving, the app was created by the team in Chandigarh led by IT enthusiast Munish Jauhar. The project uses technology to connect people in need. The Chandigarh Hub, as the team is referred to, beat 40 short-listed international entries in the final round of the annual curators' meet in Geneva recently to win the prize.

"We felt there was disconnect between available blood donors and the end users. That is why we created this app to link them. Now a person needing blood can directly connect to the blood donor," Munish Jauhar, the founding curator of the Chandigarh hub, told IANS in an interview in the city.

"Blood donation is primarily a third world country problem as there is no organised link between donors and users. We will leverage the community for this," said Jauhar, a Masters in Computer Applications from Punjab University in Chandigarh and founder CEO of GrayCell Technologies Exports.

Coca-Cola's 'Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge' is a competition exclusively for members of the WEF's Global Shapers Community.

"Global Shapers develop projects that address their communities' and the world's most challenging societal issues, with the opportunity to win seed money to sustain and expand their initiatives," Elaine Bowers Coventry, creator of the Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Competition, told IANS via e-mail.

"Coca-Cola is helping bring together young leaders to share ideas, collaborate and catalyze action within the Global Shapers Community to create grassroots projects that tackle the world's most pressing issues. Coca-Cola offers up to $50,000 (roughly Rs. 30 lakhs) to improve the most promising and impactful Hub projects," Bowers said.

For Jauhar and his hub team, the blood donors' app is not the only job at hand.

"We have created another platform, 'InKind', which is a web interface to link NGOs with recipients. We found that often the receivers were not getting things which they needed. We have tried to provide a link here too," Jauhar said.

With the grant money, the Chandigarh Hub is all set to scale up its blood donors' app and other ideas on a global scale.

The Chandigarh Hub last month featured in a live interaction at the WEF in Davos.

Chandigarh Hub members, most of them professionals or entrepreneurs, engage in other activities. One of them, Jaideep Bansal, helped light up a remote village (Sumdachenmo) in Ladakh last year.

"The 120 village residents had never seen electricity. The entire village now has solar power," Bansal told IANS.

Another member, Kshitij Mehra, who runs a career counselling firm, initiated an 'I Failed' campaign.

"Everyone talks about successes in life. But everyone fails daily too. We have asked people to share failures so that others can learn. It has got a huge response," Mehra told IANS.

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