“AP and Telangana pioneered the evolution of crowdfunding in India,” says Milaap CEO Mayukh Choudhury
Hyderabad: Shaym Prasad fulfilled his dream by opening his own restaurant, but when he learned about his new-born daughter’s condition he was devastated. Within a month since her birth, Ayushi was diagnosed with holes in her heart and deformities in the respiratory system, requiring multiple surgeries. With his child’s life at risk, the father sold his restaurant without a second thought. He somehow managed the heart operation with help from friends and family, but ran out of all means halfway through the treatment. He started a crowdfunding campaign on Milaap, South Asia’s largest crowdfunding platform, and with the help of hundreds of strangers across the world, he collected Rs 7.9 lakh for the surgery.
Medical emergencies can consume years of savings within days, and sometimes even that is not enough. But everyone deserves the best chance to save their loved ones, and this is where platforms like Milaap help. Mayukh Choudhury, CEO and co-founder, Milaap said, “Medical needs have raised the highest amount through various campaigns from Hyderabad. This amount has seen a growth of 170x over the last six years” Online crowdfunding enables people to share their need with friends and loved ones in one click, and raise funds even from an extended network, or even complete strangers in a quick, safe and transparent manner.
Over the last few years, online crowdfunding has gained immense popularity, but at it’s very root, lies a humble beginning. Today vastly used for healthcare crowdfunding, Milaap shares how even until 2015, ‘education’ was the leading cause for online fundraising. In 2016, there was a sudden 5x spike in funds raised for medical and emergency needs in a single year. While the number of fundraisers set up every year for other causes like women empowerment and pets and animals is also seeing over 2x and 3x increase year on year, the contributions towards urgent healthcare needs remain the highest, particularly for the long term and unforeseen treatments such as cancer-care and organ transplants especially for children.
“Overall, since the platform’s inception, the funds raised collectively through Milaap each year has seen nearly 200X increase, while the number of fundraisers set up each year has grown nearly 300X. The city of Hyderabad has played a critical role, not only in Milaap’s journey, but also in the evolution of crowdfunding in India. Till date, nearly Rs. 110 crores has been raised for causes from AP and Telangana, over 70% of this being for causes from Hyderabad. In fact, these states were the first to receive immense support from groups and communities abroad. The Telugu diasporic communities have been actively sharing and contributing to causes back home through Milaap. Interestingly, diasporic communities have contributed nearly 40% of the funds raised for the twin states, while for most other geographies, it stands at about 30%. Among foreign countries, contributions from the US form the biggest share. It is this support that has given us the confidence to completely waive off our fee and make Milaap a free platform as we completed 10 years.” Choudhury adds
A well-connected and digitally active diaspora, and closely-knit online groups and communities could be the major reason why over 95% of people from the city raise the required funds without any additional support from Milaap.
“After the heart operation for my Baby Aushi was successful I couldn’t feel the relief, because there was still a long way to go. She still needed surgeries for her windpipe and a maxillofacial surgery, so that she could breathe properly. With the crowdfunding campaign started on Milaap I could complete the crucial surgeries and give my daughter a second lease on life,” says a happy Shyam Prasad whose baby daughter is quickly recovering now
It is not just people like Shaym who are trying to crowdfund to save a loved one, but also incredible heroes like Pradeep Nair, Neehari Mandali, Arshad Shaik and Suresh Ediga, who are crowdfunding for various causes around the city, to help stranded migrant workers, victims of abuse and even stray animals. More and more people are now resorting to the digital route to raise funds to help each other. Today, even children like 17-year-old Smriti, 14-year-old Mishikkaa and Anvitha, and 11-year-old Ridhi are using the digital world to address issues like feeding migrants, supporting the education of young girls, feeding strays and to provide awareness on solar energy. They have mobilised amounts in lakhs from people across the world to transparently affect the lives of thousands in need.