dps north, crowdfunding platform fueladream, needy heart foundation, dps students raise funds for heart surgeries, ranganath thota
Some of the students involved in the fund-raising exercise.www.fueladream.com/home/dps-big-hearts

In what appears to be a unique initiative, 50 school students from a Bengaluru school are raising money to help a non-government organisation facilitate free heart surgeries for people living in rural India. The effort is being driven by a crowdfunding platform, FuelADream.com.

"We pitched the idea to Manju Balasubramanyam, principal, DPS North on the 4th of March (this year)...it took just two weeks to get going," Ranganath Thota, founder and CEO of FuelADream.com, said at a media interaction in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

The campaign is LIVE at https://www.fueladream.com/home/dps-big-hearts.

"The students have already raised Rs 14.4 lakh as of May 9...each student has a target of Rs 40,000," he added.

The money will be handed over to Rotary Bangalore, which in turn will channelise it to Needy Heart Foundation, a 15-year-old NGO that is dedicated to the cause of providing heart surgeries to the needy, especially those living in rural areas.

The 50 students are studying in grades ranging from 9th to 12th and are approaching friends, relatives, besides using social media to achieve their target, Manju Subramanyam said.

The "DPS Big Hearts" initiative has the potential to be a trend-setter for others, including other schools and corporates to emulate, according to Thota.

Explaining the treatment costs, O P Khanna, chairman and managing trustee, Needy Heart Foundation, said: "Each surgery costs Rs 1.25 lakh for us under a tie-up with hospitals. We pay one-third of the cost while the rest comes either from other NGOs or from the government (in some cases)."

The "DPS Big Hearts" project is also having a positive effect on the students. "The initiative is creating transformational change among the children and their views on the needs of the society," Khanna said. His daughter Mini Khanna, formerly vice-president, HR, at Accenture, is also involved in the NGO's activities.

The Foundation and Rotary Bangalore have tie-up with two hospitals in the city — Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology, JP Nagar and Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta — where the surgeries are performed.

Needy Heart Foundation has funded close to 8,000 since its inception in February 2002, O P Khanna said.

Since going live last April, FuelADream.com has raised around Rs 3.5 crore from over 95 campaigns in the last 12 months, Thota said. 

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People associated with the initiative (left to right): O P Khanna, chairman and trustee of Needy Heart Foundation; Ranganath Thota, founder and CEO of FuelADream.com; Manju Balasubramanyam, principal of DPS North;Pradeep Visvanathan, president of Rotary Bangalore Indiranagar and Mini Khanna of Needy Heart Foundation.By special arrangement