Scout Blood is an organization devoted to saving lives through blood donations in developing countries.
Annmaria is the San Jose-based 11th grader who founded the organization as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award Project. She is a Girl Scout of Northern California Ambassador, the highest level of Girl Scout.
Annmaria noticed that in villages of many developing countries, local hospitals lacked the infrastructure to store blood.
“A problem that occurs is that when a patient needs a blood transfusion, the patient will be responsible for finding the blood donor,” Annmaria explained.
This may even involve going from door to door to find a suitable donor.
“This adds a lot of stress on these families, because if they’re not able to find a blood donor, their loved one is unable to get a blood transfusion, regardless of how critical or life-threatening the scenario might be,” said Annmaria.
She found out about this situation after the crash of Air India Express Flight 1344 in 2020, which killed 21 passengers. She realized how privileged Americans were to have access to a precious resource that was by no means accessible in all countries.
“Scout Blood is a software that allows hospitals to have access to a database of blood donors,” Annmaria said. “Whenever there’s an urgent need for blood, instead of putting that burden on families, hospitals can use our platform to send messages out to blood donors located near them.”
Since blood donors can only send blood to patients of specified blood types, hospitals are able to send messages by blood type needed.
For many students, the idea of managing a life-saving organization while keeping up with schoolwork may sound like an impossible task. To Annmaria, it is simply a matter of priorities.
“People have the ability to do the things they want,” said Annmaria. “It’s a matter of what matters to them the most, and that’s where people spend the most of their time.”
“Girl Scouts has always been a huge part of what I’ve been doing. I’ve been a Girl Scout for 13 years,” Annmaria explained. “It really hit close to home because my family’s from India. Being able to address this pressing need in the community my family hails from was very important to me.”
“Even when school is stressful and I have a lot of exams and projects coming up, I always find time to dedicate to Scout Blood,” Annmaria continued.
Annmaria earned a Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, for her project.
That Girl Scouts are engaged in such important projects – which can literally save lives – is still unrecognized by many people.
“Girl Scouts have completed incredible projects in a wide range of fields,” said Annmaria.
Many of the projects address issues of particular significance to the Girl Scouts, such as raising awareness of American Indian storytelling.
“I think making the world a better place is the driving principle behind all these projects,” she said.
“After I completed Scout Blood, I was invited by Girl Scouts USA to serve as one of the representatives at the United Nations International Day of the Girl Conference,” Annmaria went on.
“Girl Scouts flew me to Manhattan, where UN headquarters are, for this conference. I was able to speak to a lot of diplomats and representatives and talk about my work of addressing health care inequalities,” Annmaria explained. “Girl Scouts gave me the opportunity to share my story on an international basis.”
“Girl Scouts has not only provided me the opportunity to leave a lasting impact but also to share my impact and inspire others to take on similar projects,” said Annmaria.
You can find out more about Scout Blood on its website scoutblood.com.