BITS Pilani Alumni Association
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Out of the Blue initiatives are help initiatives aimed at BITSians in their hour of emergency. To realize our vision of "Maximize[ing] the potential of BITSians and BITS Pilani”, BITSAA International’s Out of the Blue initiatives will entertain all authentic financial and non financial requests for help from BITSians in any part of the world/universe. From shaking the BITSAA community to immediate action, to bringing out the best in the BITSian fraternity, these initiatives are the pulse and DNA of BITSAA - giving back to the community in the purest of forms and creating everlasting impact. You can refer to the BITSAA OOBI Policy and Guidelines document here.
The following people are the permanent members of the OOBI committee:
Apart from these permanent members, a SWAT team would function for initiatives that are taken up. The SWAT team would consist of 2-3 co-opted BITSAA Leaders, and local chapter leaders wherever applicable.
Recommended BITSAA Involvement (once verified & sponsored)
Personal (Injury, death, natural calamity)
SWAT lead to be based out of local area or chapter of concern
Incorporate extra volunteers for a high intensity project
Professional (e.g. Campus placement)
Others (e.g. student treatment issues on campus etc)
The Out of the Blue mergency initiatives have struck a chord in their own ways with BITSians all over the world. BITSians have offered their love, prayers, monetary support throughout the campaigns. They have reinforced our faith in the power of the BITSian network time and again and the BITSian passion to make a difference in the life of fellow BITSians. BITSAA International bows to the persistent support of our alumni network and making all our initiatives grand successes.
Sai Boddu Fundraiser – In October 2004, Venu called Anupendra about a BITSian who had slipped into a coma after his car was hit by a truck on the highway. He had no insurance, was out of a job,and his family was in India.That night,a simple email resulted in 90 BITSians on a conference call to figure out what was to be done. Within 48 hours, the American Embassy in India had been opened,visas issued for parents,and tickets paid for. His mother and sister were on a plane to the US. When they landed, BITSians had already organized along with other Indians from various associations. BITSAA tied up with a local organization, and raised $40,000 in a short time.When Sai came out of a coma, thanks to a miracle and the tireless dedication of his mother,he was able to go home, financially safe for his rehabilitation.
Proud alumnus of BITS Pilani, Manish Bharadwaj’s case inspired drive the initiative ‘Life for Manish’, for registering bone marrow donors for patients affected by Acute myeloid leukemia ( AML). Manish’s talk about his disease over a video and his appeal to help patients by registering as bone marrow donors has moved every BITSian who watched it. Taking note from Manish’s talk, BITSAA publicized the drive to spread the message across the world. As on 18th November 2008, drives for bone marrow registration were conducted at 61 locations in US, UK, India and Australia with a total number of 4,751 donors. Manish put up a brave fight but lost his battle with cancer and passed away on Thursday, November 6th 2008 in Houston.
In the middle of 2008, news about Seema broke online "Himachal girl in pain seeks mercy killing from President of India”. Seema, the 1985 batch Gold medalist was destined for a bright future till rheumatoid arthritis killed her plans. She disappeared from the alumni community, and after being bedridden for 13 years she wrote a letter to the President of India, appealing for mercy killing. Bharti Balakrishnan ('00 Chem) and Aditi Pany ('00 Fin) drove from Delhi to meet Seema in person. Anu ('86 MMS) searched for doctors and arranged counseling sessions. Punita (’80 EEE) scheduled conference calls between alumni and bedridden Seema. As press coverage increased, the Chief Minister of the State intervened. The government agreed to pay for the surgery, but not critical post surgery rehabilitation. BITSAA reached out to the community and raised in four days, twice as much as what Seema requested. 235 alums donated. After four surgeries including two hip replacements, Seema is recovering.
Eenadu, a leading Telugu newspaper reported on 02 July 2009 stating thatMr. Nagesh from Adilabad had scored 993/1000, topping the Andhra Board Higher Secondary Examinations for the year 2009 and had also secured direct admission to his dream university – BITS Pilani. The paper had further reported that Nagesh came from an economically disadvantaged family and that he would not be able to afford education at BITS Pilani. As soon as the news came, Rakesh Anugula (’02 BITSAA International’s Director for Campus Relations,got in touch with the reporter to get Nagesh’s contact details and spoke to Nagesh assuring him that his education at BITS Pilani would not suffer due to his economic conditions. Based on Rakesh’s input, Eashwar Koneru from BITSAA (1975-80 batch) and Mayur Patnala, a BITSian and Vice President of Nirmaan (a non-profit organization started by BITSians) swung into action and assured support to Nagesh. BITSAA ‘75-‘80 and Nirmaan together have helped Nagesh get through BITS by providing the admission fee as well as the first semester tuition fee. They also facilitated connecting Nagesh to the Lanco Foundation which has agreed to sponsor the rest of his education at BITS.
In May 2009, Anitha Ashokan a 2004 batch BITSian from the Goa campus was diagnosed with Balo, a rare case of multiple sclerosis. Anitha was hospitalized and was undergoing critical care treatment, when the news of her illness was brought to the notice of the BITSian community. BITSAA International took up the case of helping Anitha and a SWAT team led by Shwetha Kailash (‘04) was formed. This team was in constant touch with Anitha‘s family and received regular updates on her medical condition and doctor’s prognosis. Knowing that there was no time to lose, BITSAA International’s leadership team quickly decided to help Anitha’s family monetarily, by raising funds and non-monetarily, by taking help from BITSians to reduce her overall medical expenses. BITSAA reached out to the BITSian fraternity and the target fundraising amount of Rs 5 lakhs was reached within 3 days. Over 220 donors from all over the world donated, and an amount of $14721 (7 lakhs approx) was raised for Anitha. Anitha’s family has used the funds donated by BITSians to settle her outstanding medical bills and Anitha is now under medical care at home .
Deep Chandji is a mess worker employed in BITS for the past 40 years. In May 2009, his daughter-in-law suffered from Dead Fetus Syndrome. This led to serious complications to her health, landing Chandji in a huge debt. Deep Chandji’s case was brought to the notice of BITSAA International and a team was set up to investigate the case. Many of the members of the BITSAA Women’s Council (BWC) had fond memories of Chandji and his service in Pilani, and came forward to drive this initiative. A fundraiser led by the BWC and with the support of BITSAA International was organized. A target of Rs 3 lakhs was set and emails were sent to the inmates of Meera Bhawan and the BITSAA Women’s council. BITSians from all over the world came forward to donate and a check of Rs. 2,83,574 was handed over to Chandji.
Chimpooji, with his ever smiling face longer smiling, behind the counter at Blue Moon serving MNB drinks was reported to be battling severe liver damage when BITSians around the globe got the news. His family faced an uphill battle as they tried to manage their finances while reeling under the stress caused by the ill health of a family member. Multiple hospital stays at Jaipur, Mumbai and Gurgaon took a toll on the family finances and life and the doctors finally concluded after multiple treatment attempts that a liver transplant was the only hope for Chimpooji. BITSians around the globe then decided to extend unconditional help to Chimpooji's family to afford long and expensive transplant treatment costing upwards of Rs. 30 lakhs. Even though Chimpooji could not be saved (he succumbed to a heart attack on 12th February 2016 finally after being out of coma but on ventilator and showing signs of improvement), BITSian ecosystem managed to raise close to Rs. 30 lakhs comprising of Rs. 22 lacs via an independent BitGiving campaign led by BITSian Nikhil Jain and Rs ~8 laksh via the BITSAA International fundraising campaign. BITSAA was in constant touch with Chimpooji’s family through our on-the-ground contact and were monitoring the monetary needs to support the hospital stay. For Chimpooji’s treatment expenses, roughly 50% of the BitGiving collections were made use of. In true BITSian spirit, BITSAA decided to transfer the remaining amount from BitGiving campaign and Rs. 5 lakhs out of the funds collected via BITSAA to Chimpooji's wife. It would help his family to repay debts taken from friends and relatives for the treatment before alumni pitched in and would also help his children meet their immediate education expenses. The remaining Rs. 3 lakhs left with BITSAA was decided to be put into a corpus fund to meet any such out-of-blue emergency needs arising in future for any member of the BITSian family. As always, BITSAA reached out to all donors who have contributed via our platform providing an option to seek refund in case they wish.
If you are aware of cases of BITSians in emergencies , or BITSians who would need help please write to us at email@example.com. We will consider the case and see how BITSAA network could be of help. As a disclaimer, BITSAA may not be able to help in every case and considering a case is the decision of the OOBI committee based on the guidelines.
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