Representatives from BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) joined various Hindu and Jain groups in Parliament on 10 July 2019 to launch an awareness campaign about the upcoming law change regarding organ donation in England. The collective group – the Jain and Hindu Organ Donation (JHOD) steering group – was established in 2018 to lead on the work and includes volunteers from BAPS.
BAPS welcomed the backing of MPs in February 2018 to implement a law change that considers all adults in England to have agreed to donate their organs upon their passing unless they decide to ‘opt-out’ or are part of an excluded group. More information about the law change is available here.
The new law will change the landscape of organ donation in the UK, providing a greater chance at obtaining a life-saving organ transplant.
The meeting at Parliament was chaired by Lord Jitesh Gadhia with chief guest the Rt Hon. Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and Bob Blackman MP also in attendance. BAPS volunteers have taken a lead role in producing an informative leaflet and educational video that draws upon patient testimonies and opinions from Hindu faith leaders, medical professionals and community leaders. Dr Neil Soneji, a BAPS volunteer, introduced the video to the esteemed audience.
Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS, has inspired and guided BAPS volunteers to actively raise the importance of organ donation in the community through various initiatives. A living organ donation campaign was launched during his visit to London in 2017. Since then, BAPS has held numerous organ donation awareness conferences, seminars and recruitment drives throughout the country.
Dr Soneji explained, “We are helping the Hindu community to correct misconceptions from a faith perspective, with clarifications from religious leaders on the alignment of organ donation with Hindu beliefs and culture. We encourage the video to be watched at community awareness events and shared with friends and relatives to educate, inspire and save lives.”
Mr Hancock added, “This campaign is a brilliant example of the community-based work that is vital to raising awareness and understanding around organ donation. When the change in law comes into force next year, everyone must be provided with the right information and support to make the best possible choice. It was inspiring to see so many supporters from the Hindu and Jain communities come together for this new campaign, stimulating conversation on this important topic.”
To learn more about the Hindu perspective on organ donation, please visit the NHS page here where the information is available in various languages. The new educational leaflet and video are also available from that page and at the respective links.
To register your decision regarding organ donation, please click here.
For more information, please email [email protected].
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