The year that was: Victories of 2015

We are happy to announce that Ketto has seen a very prosperous 2015, with not only our business growing ten-fold, but seeing an effective increase in the number of people turning to Ketto to fund their needs, beliefs and dreams. Varun Sheth, CEO, Ketto, says “We have had a very eventful year. Ketto ended 2014 having raised 1 crore. However, we proudly end 2015 having raised 10 crores. We are definitely excited about our progress and very happy about the initiatives that came forward.”

2015 showed us the versatility of human imagination and generosity. A range of amazing initiatives came forward, for a variety of causes. Here are just some of the many frontrunners among them.

January: A smashing start of year!

The year began with a bang and set the fast pace of an upcoming 2015. Kayaker Kaustubh Khade kayaked from Mumbai to Goa, a distance spanning approximately 500 Kilometers to raise money for Magic Bus, an NGO which helps children break out of the poverty cycle through sports and outdoor activities.

Our valiant marathon runners, Danny Carroll, Sanghamitra Guha, Vivek Gaur, Kushal Agarwal, Pranav Shah and Rishabh Sekhani each ran for a cause and raised funds on Ketto for the same, meeting high levels of success.

February: Keeping the momentum

Feb wasn’t any less eventful than Jan, with the Sankalp Forum’s initiative to raise money for upcoming sustainable social enterprises. An example of this was Janta Meals, a chain of restaurants started in slum and informal areas to offer nutritious food to those who needed it at a very affordable price. Sampurn(e)arth, an organization aimed at providing environmentally sustainable waste management solutions, also managed to raise significant funds to take their enterprise to the next level.

Feb’s goodwill didn’t end there; Madhusudhan Sashtry raised funds for his friend and colleague, Mubin Ali Syed, who had been battling paraplegia and is the only earning member of his family. His fundraiser was successful and he received roaring support, not only from his workplace, but from across the country, raising over 3.9 lakh thanks to 158 backers.

March : A month of miracles

Miracles because Eshaan’s story was nothing short of a miracle. Two-and-a-half-year-old toddler Eshaan was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer caused by the atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor. His parents started a fundraiser for him for support with his medical bills, and the backing he received was truly monumental.

Apart from patronage for little Eshaan, March also saw an interesting development of Ketto’s creative tech campaigns; funds for Fitkat, the only smart band that aims to keep you healthy, connected and safe, were actualized on our platform. Fitkat tracks your fitness, keeps you safe with an SOS button, gives you alerts of emails, texts or if you’ve left your phone behind and much, much more.

April: Overcoming nature’s calamities… and more

Nepal’s earthquake of April was truly devastating. Our Save Nepal initiative proved to be a huge success and saw a total collection of over Rs. 1.1 crore. Bollywood celebs such as Varun Dhawan, Nargis Fakhri and Dia Mirza (among others) stepped forward to fundraise for our neighbors in the north.

A family in Mumbai were facing calamities of their own this month. 27-year-old Jagruti Gajjar was diagnosed with acute liver failure, a liver transplant being the only option. Her campaign saw an amazing turnout of 1200 backers, raising over Rs. 4 lakh, providing her, her parents and sisters support in their time of need.

May: Expanding our points of view

Point of View, an NGO based in Mumbai that’s mission is to make women’s voices heard and understood, started an initiative on Ketto to raise funds for women with physical and mental disabilities. Point Of View launched, with the premise that disabled women are also sexual beings. This is the same principal most of their campaigns followed and aimed to raise funds for women with disabilities, as well as to train institutions on how to handle women and girls with disabilities.

May also helped expanding the points of view of the young boys and girls of India’s frisbee team, allowing for them to attend the World Under-23 Ultimate Championships in July, 2015. 70% of our team was from underprivileged backgrounds. The funds raised were used for their travel, accommodation, food, gear, and other travel fees.

June: Creating new notions

June was the month of crossing all lines, in the best ways possible. The Mission Paralympics 2016 campaign was borne to enable the differently-abled athletes train and travel to the Paralympic Games in 2016. All funds were raised for four inspiring and amazing athletes in the para-swimming and para-lifting categories.

Apart from this, an enterprising young man, Varun Sharma, was set on helping out villagers of Suaba, a very remote village in Odisha. The village is so remote that hardly any government scheme or service reaches them. Varun’s aim was to empower this village through electricity offered by Solar Panels. As he believes, electricity is the cornerstone of development, and without it, this village would still be in the dark.

July: Reaching new heights

The month preceding the Lakmé Fashion Week saw many young designers raise campaigns in support of their fashion labels to be launched at Lakmé Fashion Week. Of the seven participating designers, some favorites included Shivangi Sahni and Charchit Bafna. Funds raised went towards creating their designs, marketing collateral, publicity and managing logistics. These campaigns helped catapult these designers’ careers to knew heights and we at Ketto were more than happy to be part of this initiative.

Apart from fashion ingenuities, July also brought us the inspiring story of Kevin Pinto. Kevin met with an accident on July 12, 2015, and his head hit a pole, causing diffuse axonal injury, one of the most common and devastating types of traumatic brain injury, and a major cause of unconsciousness and persistent vegetative state after head trauma. Kevin’s colleague Roberto managed to raise a considerable amount for Kevin’s treatment, and Kevin is on his way to recovery.

August: Just some more great stories

Friendicoes SECA Animal Hospital, who have helped thousands of puppies, kittens, donkeys, ponies, dogs, cats and horses, found themselves in a financial debt of Rs. 82,00,000, an amount large enough to shut them down. They, at the time, had approximately 2000 animals in their care, and shutting down would mean abandoning these furry friends. Needless to say, they got ample support, and are still running a strong hospital and animal shelter.

Another initiative this month was for Kranti, an NGO that helps the daughters of Mumbai’s sex workers. A while ago, some of Kranti’s girls were thrown out of their house. On Ketto, Humans of Bombay managed to raise sufficient funds to make a home out of the new unhygienic and decrepit space these girls lived in. With the funds raised on Ketto, Humans of Bombay helped Kranti’s girls find a home in their new living space.

This month also saw the raising of funds to send underprivileged kids to the Homeless World Cup, an annual football tournament that brings together teams comprising of underprivileged people from 64 different countries. Slum Soccer and Sports Keeda came together and managed to raise sufficient funds to transport India’s players to Amsterdam in September.

September and October: The months for women

Violence against women in India is a shocking and scary phenomenon. That being said, Leaf Wearables stepped in and created SAFER, smart jewelry that will keep you safe. In the form of a pendant, if you press your SAFER twice, it sends out an alarm to your pre-added family and friends, who can track you on SaferWalk, SAFER’s map feature. Apart from the whopping 5 lakhs SAFER managed on Ketto, it has raised an additional 1.67 crore in seed funding from angel investors. We wish our country didn’t require an amazing invention such as this, but the hard truth is that it does, and Leaf Wearables saved the day, making a SAFER India now a reality.

A heartbreaking story of a daily wage worker who’s daughter was brutally raped also came to our notice and was successfully funded in September. This man had to walk four kilometers everyday to take his daughter to the doctor to get her wounds treated and the dressing changed, for which he also had to quit work. Storypick, through Ketto, managed to raise sufficient funds for this man to provide transportation and quality treatment to his nine-year-old daughter.

October, too, saw some great initiatives for our women and girls. Khadija, a suspected patient of Neurofibromatosis, was born without eyes and excess skin on her face. She lives in extreme poverty in Kolkata. Although told that her condition was untreatable when born, doctors believed that there is a tumor inside her face, and can be corrected with surgery. Needless to say, this fundraiser for Khadija received ample support and will undergo medical tests to determine the surgery options shortly.

Furthermore, Tara Balgopal, a veteran danseuse, had been living in squalor, largely on charity, for many years, despite also being a Reader of English at Rajdhani College. Post retirement, she wasn’t paid pension as apparently ‘her file was lost’. Nikhil Sarup, co-founder of Law Rato, a legal aid startup, decided to not only offer her free legal advice to get her what she deserved, but also to raise money for her rehabilitation, which included fixing her house, providing daily meals for her and spending an amount on electricity and medical bills. She was met with thriving support and Nikhil managed to effectively transform her life through crowdfunding on Ketto.

November: Unique initiatives

November saw some interesting initiatives full of potential. Shadow the Leader, ‘leading’ among these, allowed backers to to spend a day with their chosen ‘leader.’ Leaders ranged from Malini Agarwal to Sandeep Singhal and donations would go to the leaders’ choice of pre-decided NGOs. This was a huge success and most spots were procured within days of launching. Ketto managed to raise Rs. 3.2 lakh for various causes through this initiative.

Another thunderous success was young Upahar’s fight against blood cancer. The treatment for this, bone marrow transplant, is obviously not cheap. However, Humans of Bombay, through Ketto, managed to get her the funds with a little to spare.

On a lighter not, Siddhant Dand crowdfunded for a pizza and managed to raise enough for, not one, but six pizzas. We here at Ketto are always happy to help a pizza aficionado.

December: Flooding the world’s largest guest list

December, again, saw an unfortunate calamity in terms of Chennai’s devastating floods. However, our Save Chennai initiative saw a gathering of Rs. 1.3 crore for the destruction. Initiatives started by The News Minute and Goonj were widely successful. An initiative for animals during the floods, the only one of its kind, started by Jivesh Goenka, also proved successful in helping our furry, four-legged counterparts.

What’s more, Hardwell returned to Mumbai and along with Anna Agency, set up the United We Are Foundation, a charity project which is “a globally ambitious endeavor to educate young children in different communities around the world” according to Anna Knaup, CEO, Anna Agency. Proceeds of his show were handed to the United We Are Foundation and the Magic Bus Foundation, an NGO preoccupied with the welfare and education of underprivileged kids.

Finally, the Horshuba Repertory, a theatre company started in 2012, campaigned for funds for their groundbreaking production Ek Punjab Yeh Bhi, based on Ali Akbar Natiq’s stories. It was firstly a big deal and huge gold star on the company’s credibility that they were given the rights to stage Ali Akbar Natiq’s short stories. What else can we say? The goal was met, the play was staged, the production was a huge success.

2015 has definitely been promising, and we are excited to welcome an even better 2016. We are happy to see so many people, causes and promising projects funded through initiatives on Ketto, helping make the world a better place, little by little. Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” We at Ketto are aiming to empower individuals and organisations with the opportunity and choice to create their own happy futures.

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