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Women Duo Ride to Promote Voluntary Blood Donation

Thiruvanathapuram: The idea of a cross-country trip occurred to the two female two-wheeler riders, Tuna Bastian and Sajna Ali, after they completed a trip from Kochi to Kashmir on a scooter last September. But what was unique was the humane cause behind their ride. The objective of ‘Ride 4 Blood’ undertaken by the duo was

Thiruvanathapuram: The idea of a cross-country trip occurred to the two female two-wheeler riders, Tuna Bastian and Sajna Ali, after they completed a trip from Kochi to Kashmir on a scooter last September. But what was unique was the humane cause behind their ride. The objective of ‘Ride 4 Blood’ undertaken by the duo was to promote voluntary blood donation (VBD) for achieving the goals laid down by Vision 2020 chalked out by the stakeholders in the blood donation field. It envisages achieving 100 per cent self-sufficiency in VBD across all major government hospitals in India by 2020. It also aims at making various stakeholders/public accountable in this regard and mobilising people/organisations working in the field of blood donation.

The objective of ‘Ride 4 Blood’ undertaken by two women riders was to promote voluntary blood donation

The cross-country trip was flagged off by Dr. Rajasree M S, Vice Chancellor, APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University of Kerala, at Kanakakunnu Palace premises in Thiruvananthapuram on April 21. Before setting out on the trip, Sajna Ali spoke to technopolis. “Every day, the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) in Thiruvananthapuram needs 500–600 units of blood. With the blood shortage reaching high levels, this trip will also highlight the need to push up the national average in VBD,” said Sajna. It all started in 2016 when Tuna Bastian met Sajna Ali during a trip organised by Appooppanthaadi, a city-based all-women travel group started by Sajna Ali. She floated the group after resigning from a Technopark-based company in 2017 where she was working as a software engineer. It was her father Ali Koya, a truck driver, who cultivated in her an interest for travelling. Her trips helped her earn new friends which ultimately led to the formation of the collective known as Appooppanthaadi. The collective has already completed 155 trips to places all over India with the participation of over 1500 women.

Sajna is also closely associated with the blood donation forum Tejus founded by the techies working at Technopark, and Helping Hands Organisation, an NGO working for the betterment of differently abled children. Tejus makes the best use of latest technologies and existing networks in providing a common platform for blood donors. Tuna Bastian, an Ernakulam-based investigation officer with Star Health Insurance Company Ltd., started following her passion for travel from the age of 13.

She is the first woman to complete a ride along the world’s highest motorable road, ‘Khardung la’, on a scooter starting from Kochi in September 2018. Initially the pair thought of undertaking the ‘Ride 4 Blood’ on a Bajaj Avenger bike but later decided to use a TVS Ntorq 125 scooter for the trip.

The programme was coordinated by Federation of Indian Blood Donor Organisation (FIBDO), a collective of various forums promoting the cause of VBD, along with Kerala Blood Donors Society that has made tremendous strides in promoting blood donation, and Tejus. The programme was supported by Terumo Penpol, a company which enjoys immense credibility in the blood donation sphere.

The journey which started from Thiruvananthapuram returned to the Kerala capital after touching Amritsar in Punjab, taking a total of 20 days. The duo was given a grand welcome on their return on May 11 at Gandhi Park. Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, along with V K Prasanth, Mayor, Corporation of Thiruvananthapuram welcomed the riders near the Greenfield Stadium at Kariavattom.
In the closing ceremony held at Gandhi Park, Sajna Ali and Tuna Bastian were felicitated.

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