PARYUSHAN Mahaparva is here and to commemorate the Jain festival of reflection and seeking forgiveness, seven youngsters from the community are promoting the cause of organ donation.
They are encouraging Jains in the UK to talk about organ donation during Paryushan, which started on September 3 and will continue till September 10, and register their names for donating organs after death as a form of sewa (service).
The youngsters have made a video to promote the idea of organ donation and it has been commissioned by the Jain and Hindu Organ Donation Alliance (JHOD), in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
Thousands of Jains will watch it during Paryushan events organised by numerous Jain organisations in the UK as well as through social media.
Kirit Modi, chair of JHOD, said in a press release, “I am delighted that youngsters are taking the lead in promoting organ donation during Paryushan this year. Statistics published by NHSBT show that organ transplants have understandably reduced because of the pandemic in 2020/21.
Patients from BAME communities waiting for an organ transplant have been affected more compared to the whole population. The Jain community has taken a leading role in promoting organ donation for many years. I am urging all Jains to support us during this period of recovery from the effects of the pandemic by registering to donate organs”.
The video is part of the JHOD’s Paryushan campaign and gives a powerful message by the seven youngsters. The video includes two transplant recipients from the Jain community — Rakhi Shah, who received a new kidney in July after waiting for two years, and Sandeep Shah, who was blessed by a family’s decision to donate the heart of one of their loved ones.
Prafula Shah, secretary/trustee of JHOD, said: “There is an urgent shortage of organ donors in the UK and sadly hundreds of people are still waiting for a transplant and some die waiting. I am delighted that through this video young people from the Jain community are urging us all to think about organ donation as a form of compassionate sewa this Paryushan”.
Last month, NHSBT said in a report that in 2020-21, there was a comparable drop in both White and non-White deceased donors but a 61 per cent fall in the number of BAME living donors, compared to a 58 per cent fall overall.
Black, Asian, Mixed Race and minority ethnic patients receiving organ transplants decreased by 36% compared to 22% for the overall population, the report added.
Besides commissioning the powerful video, JHOD is also publishing a special leaflet on organ donation from the perspective of the Jains, explaining religious aspects and messages from the community’s leaders.
Manharbhai Mehta, a JHOD trustee, said, “The main principle of Jainism is non-violence (Ahimsa), the purpose of which is to preserve all living things as far as possible. For Jains, Paryushan is the period to promote Ahimsa and in the process, show compassion to others. The special leaflet with the Jain perspective that is being published, brings to us the messages of compassion through organ donation by Jain spiritual leaders. It also has an extract from the Jain scripture of a king donating parts of his body, and ultimately the whole body, to save a pigeon.”