Attended over 1,400 calls, raised over Rs 50 lakh’: How a group from Hyderabad helped

The Covid war room set up by the youngsters in Hyderabad not only helped supply essential items and financial aid but also had a doctor running a tele-consultation helpline for Covid-19 patients.

When the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, all that could see on his Twitter feed was frantic calls of help from patients and their families who were running from pillar-to-post in search of oxygen, hospital beds or aid.

It is then that the Hyderabad-based techie conceptualised setting up a Covid war room to help those in need.

Over the last six weeks, Sriharsha and a group of his friends have attended over 1,400 distress calls and raised over Rs 50 lakh to help those in need. The success of the Covid war room, which has around 500 volunteers working in 12 different time zones, lies in transparency and effective communication which attracted passionate donors all across the world.

27-year-old Sriharsha, an alumnus of the International Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad (IIIT-H) and founded of tech start-up Questbook, said the need of setting up a helpline struck him when he realised how the attendants and family members of Covid patients are drained out, both emotionally and financially. “The concept aimed at taking the emotional and mental load off the patients’ attendants while the team hand-held them till their request was resolved. A technology-backed system enabled the volunteers, armed with crowdsourced funds, and information to take each request they received to its logical conclusion,” he added.

Mohit Jain from Vadodara, another IIIT-H alumnus and now a data scientist with a US-based firm, was one of the first to associate himself with the war room. When the number of volunteers rose from 15 to over 300 in a matter of hours, it was nearly impossible to keep track of requests and coordinate among themselves. The team then reached out to Slack, an American business communication platform, which agreed to provide them with a premium membership considering the volunteer work they proposed.

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