Bhubaneswar: Moved by the sacrifices of their teachers at medical school and other COVID warriors during the pandemic, a 22-year-old Odia girl, Ankita Mishra, and her eight friends ran a musical campaign titled ‘Dhwani’ on social media to fetch donations.
All students of Bharatiya Vidyapeeth Medical College in Pune, these youngsters raised more than Rs 1 lakh by healing people’s melancholy with music to purchase PPE kits and face shields for frontline health workers.
Ankita, who is the lead singer of her college band, conceptualised the fundraiser project on an e-platform, Ketto. She then roped in the other band members to combat the overwhelming adversities, the New Indian Express reported.
The group has uploaded more than 60 music videos of popular songs in various languages on social media. These videos were made on requests of people, who dedicated the same to their loved ones in exchange of donations — sometimes as little as Rs 55, which is the cost of a face shield. The first donation was made by a student of their college itself.
Speaking about the first inspitration, Ankita recalled she had dedicated the song ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ from the film ‘Five Feet Apart’ to another classmate, who was separated from her doctor parents, deployed on COVID duty.
“My friend was battling loneliness and anxiety all the more as her father tested positive,” said Ankita, who hails from Bhubaneswar’s Nayapalli area. It was around May when Ankita and her friend Vani Ghai conceived the project as healthcare facilities across the country were facing a scarcity of PPE kits.
Working tirelessly from their homes in different cities, these friends then launched the campaign to cheer people and raise funds.
“We didn’t use any Karoke. We had five musicians and four songs. We made customised music videos as per people’s requests. We used their photos or videos to add a personal touch. The video was something that they could preserve as a memory from the lockdown days. Thereafter, we posted it on social media as a surprise for their loved ones,” explained Ankita.
“We were excited to have collected Rs 28,000 on the first day. We also received suggestions for 15 to 20 other songs. This boosted our confidence and we continued our effort,” she added.
They also collaborated with students of institutes like ISSER Pune, IIT Delhi, Lady Shriram College among others to reach a bigger audience under a sister project titled ‘Dhwani Duets.’ Once the funds were collected, it was used for an initiative called ‘Combat from Home.’
As part of this initiative, a database was created of all COVIDhospitals, isolation wards, NGOs and care centres across the country. When the facilities listed in the database required PPE kits or face shields, the donation money was used for buying the gears. Thereafter, these kits were shipped to different destinations.
Their campaign ended on Sunday. But Ankita and her friends are now looking forward to create a fundraiser department.