A living organ donation seminar was held at The Hagbourne Village Hall in Didcot on Saturday 15 June 2019.
More than 40 people attended the seminar, which forms part of an ongoing campaign organised by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha to raise awareness about living organ donation amongst Hindus in the UK.
Organ donation is the giving of an organ to someone who needs it, to save or transform their life. There are two ways of donating an organ: a living donation or a donation after death. A living donor is someone who donates an organ whilst they are alive, most commonly a kidney.
The seminar included an educational presentation about the medical benefits of living organ donation, and provided practical guidance on how to improve organ donation rates among the Hindu community. It especially reiterated the act of donating an organ in line with the core Hindu values of ‘seva’ and ‘daan’, i.e. selfless giving.
The audience was also shown an informative video documentary produced by BAPS with support from NHS Blood and Transplant and the National BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Transplant Association. It shared testimonies from kidney donors, organ recipients, medical professionals and Hindu representatives as well as blessings from His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj encouraging everyone to consider this great act of religious merit.
After the seminar, attendees were given a leaflet that provided a useful summary of the information and next steps.
Dharmesh Vyas, a lead volunteer for BAPS in Oxford, added, “Organ donation is an important initiative for all communities, including Hindu and Indian communities. It is an act of great seva (service) encouraged by many Hindu scriptures and leaders.
“From a Hindu perspective, it is a great meritorious act to save or transform a fellow human being’s life if we expect nothing in return except the blessings of selfless giving. Donation after death also fits with Hindu beliefs as we understand ourselves to be the atma (soul), not the body. The BAPS centre in Oxford is committed to working with the wider Hindu and local communities across Oxfordshire to continue to spread this life-saving message.”