As many as 75 migrant workers residing in Thubarahalli came forward to donate blood on Sunday. Many of them were once branded illegal immigrants and had faced the threat of eviction earlier this year.
Forty-year-old Jahangir Sheikh, who was a waste picker residing in the migrant settlement in Thubarahalli said the residents, who were from West Bengal, had lost their jobs as domestic workers or janitors working in homes and private establishments.
“During the lockdown, several non-governmental organisations helped us get three square meals a day. Even now, we do not have jobs. So we decided that we wanted to be of help to people. We cannot donate money, but we thought it would ideal if we could donate our blood and save lives,” he said.
The blood that was donated went to Lions Blood Bank and Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health.
The blood donation drive was organised by several volunteers, Lions Club, Sanjaynagar, as well as Swaraj Abhiyan and many other non-governmental organisations. Many of the migrant workers were donating blood for the first time. Those donating blood wore masks and maintained physical distance.
All the units were tested for various parameters and cleared for blood donation. Vinay Kumar, a civic activist, who was involved in the blood donations, stated that many patients, particularly those who have thalassemia, are facing testing times as there was shortage of blood for transfusions during the pandemic.