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Upahaar, a charity promoting organ and stem cell donation among the South Asian communities, is launching a one year project titled ‘Be a Volunteer, Be a Donor’ to recruit 100 volunteers and muster 5000 people in the organ and stem cell register. Father Davis Chiramel, chairman of Kidney Federation of India, will attend the inaugural function at Leicester on 26th September 2015….reports Asian Lite News

EVENT: ‘Be a Volunteer, Be a Donor’ national campaign launch
               Stem cell and organ donation volunteer training workshop
 
DATE: Saturday, 26 September 2015
 
VENUE: African Caribbean Centre, Maidstone Rd, Leicester LE2 0UA
Upahaar volunteers Dr Sauda and Shilpa Shaji with with Delete Blood Cancer's Caroline Portlock
Upahaar volunteers Dr Sauda and Shilpa Shaji with with Delete Blood Cancer’s Caroline Portlock

Upahaar is also conducting a day-long training workshop for new volunteers. The year-long “Be a Volunteer, Be a Donor” campaign is aiming to promote stem cell and organ donor registration among the South Asian communities in the UK. This is the continuation of Upahaar’s ‘Gift of Life’ national campaign conducted in between 23 May – 6 June 2015.

The new campaign is aiming to train 100 volunteers from the south Asian communities from across the UK and register 5000 people during the first year.  Anyone can register on the Organ  and Blood stem cell Donation Register (ODR).

A recent survey by NHSBT shows that over a third of people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in the UK haven’t considered organ donation or decided if they want to be an organ donor. And over a quarter of a million people who do want to donate their organs when they die say they haven’t talked to a loved one about that decision.

Statistics show that 28% of people on the waiting list for an organ transplant are from a BAME or mixed race background.

Across the whole of the UK there are 10,000 people in need of a transplant. Last year the number of people donating organs fell for the first time in 11 years. The UK also has one of the lowest rates in Europe for families consenting to organ donation and in 2014/15 only 58% agreed to donate their family members’ organs after they died and only 80 of the 1,282 deceased organ donors last year were from BAME communities.

Father Davis Chiramel, the Kidney Priest from India, with Dr Ashit Sinha, Manchester Hindu Forum and Imam Sidiq Diwan during the launch of Upahaar, a new charity to promote organ and stem cell donation among South Asian communities
Father Davis Chiramel, the Kidney Priest from India, with Dr Ashit Sinha, Manchester Hindu Forum and Imam Sidiq Diwan during the launch of Upahaar, a new charity to promote organ and stem cell donation among South Asian communities

Upahaar, launched in 2015, is a charity organisation campaigning to save as many lives as possible by promoting organ and stem cell donation among the South Asian communities, especially Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Nepalese and Afghans,  in the UK. Registering Asians for stem cell and organ donation is challenging for anyone involved.

Within a short period of its launch, Upahaar has arranged 27 campaign events, besides a national awareness campaign reaching 22 cities and town in the UK. The charity also recruited 175 volunteers and registered more than 1000 donors.

There is a severe shortage of stem cell and organ donors among the Asian communities in the UK. The reasons are many including cultural and religious. Upahaar is aiming to address these issues through its campaign. Several religious leaders were supporting and participated in the Upahaar campaigns.

Several prominent members from the community and experts will attend the day-long ‘Be a Volunteer, Be a Donor’ workshop in Leicester. Father Davis Chiramel, popularly known as th Kidney Priest of India by donating a kidney to a stranger to launch his national campaign in India, will be the key note speaker. Ms. Caroline Portlock, Head of Donor Recruitment, Delete Blood Cancer UK,; Prof. Gurch Randhawa, Professor Public health; Mr. Kirit Modi, Co-Chair of the National BAME Transplant Alliance and a kidney transplant recipient, Mr. Mathew Francis, President Union of UK Malayalee Association (UUKM); Mrs Jainy Chackochan, Salford Royal Hospital; Mr Sibby Thomas, Doncaster; Mr. Anas  Azeez,; Dr Agimol Pradeep, Organ donation co-ordinator, London;  Mr: Kirit Mistry, Community Link Worker , Leicester; Dr Zainul Abideen, Paediatric Oncologist, Manchester; and Dr Siddiq Pulakal, Respiratory Consultant, UHSM, Manchester will attend.

The training programme contains presentations from experts, motivational speech, workshops, focus group discussions and event planning.

The volunteers are expected to attend a minimum of three events within 30 miles from their hometown and facilitate minimum of 100 registrations during the first year.  Upahaar is hoping to have one trained volunteer within the travel distance of 80% towns of cities of England and 60% of Wales and Scotland.

Upahaar is also aiming to train more volunteers from university students. Upahaar and NHS BT will provide a certificate of appreciation when they complete the training programme. Upahaar will also provide certificates when they complete registration and certify their charity work.

About 21 million people in the UK have already signed onto the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR).  These people have joined the Register to record their decision to donate organs and/or tissue after their death for transplantation. This information is used by authorised medical staff to establish whether a person wanted to donate. A newly build ODR has just been launched in the UK. This also gives registrants the option to register a decision not to donate their organs or to nominate others to make the decision for them after their death.

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