Hundreds of people die on Indian roads every day. To be precise, 13 people succumb to their accident injuries every hour. In fact, India ranks number one in the world when it comes to deaths caused by a road accident.
Road fatalities don’t make big news in India.
It is then applaudable that a young man chooses not to look the other way when confronted with the grave issue.
Meet 31-year old Piyush Tewari who decided to tackle the issue head on by setting up SaveLIFE Foundation, a charity organisation, dedicated to reducing the road accident toll, beginning with the national capital – Delhi.
Nearly 2000 people die of road accidents on the congested streets of Delhi. About 80 percent of them don’t receive emergency medical help in the critical ‘golden hour’ after accident, where it can make the difference between life and death.
A severe shortage of medical expertise, ambulances and traffic congestion are the main reasons behind this high fatality rate.
“If the victim can be stabilized and transported safely to a hospital within this timeframe, his/her life can be saved, says the Foundation. “It becomes essential for members of the community, the bystanders, to play a proactive role in saving the victim’s life.
“The local police that is often the first to reach the spot of an accident needs to be sensitized and trained in dealing with an accident victim.”
Tewari’s foundation has partnered with leading hospitals in Delhi, including the famour AIIMS, and has provided life support training to 2,000 police officers and 500 volunteers.
“These training sessions impart essential skills such as reviving a victim, controlling bleeding, spine immobilization and transportation, all with bare hands or by using things commonly available on the road side. It also aims to resolve apprehensions of the community towards helping accident victims.”
For his exceptional social entrepreneurship, Tewari was awarded the Rolex Award for Enterprise as part of their Young Laureates Programme.
A graduate from the University of Delhi with a degree in computer science, Tewari had little interest in becoming a computer programmer. He always wanted to do something unique and far more challenging.
Tewari honed his leadership, managerial and entrepreneurial skills at AIESEC, the world’s largest students’ organization. Being a part of AIESEC in Delhi IIT, he also developed a series of professional skills, such as business communication, strategic planning and human resources which stood him in good stead while leading SaveLIFE.
This helped him move to another line of career, after he secured an internship with India Brand Equity Fund (IBEF) through the same organization.
Within three months of starting the internship, he was employed full-time at IBEF, where he led several national brand-building projects around the world including the ‘India Everywhere’ campaign at the World Economic Forum in 2006.
After working at IBEF for close to four years, he joined the Calibrated Group as a Business Manager and took over as its Managing Director within two years. While as Calibrated, he established the SaveLIFE Foundation, and the rest is, to use a cliche, history.
Tewari is now a member of the CII National Core Group on Road Safety, where he is currently leading a project to implement global best practices for road safety in New Delhi.
Nikita Butalia is part of the communications team for AIESEC IIT Delhi.