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.
The Jain and Hindu Organ Donation Alliance is a Charitable Trust (Charity No: 1200476).
Before its charitable registration, the Alliance was known as the Jain and Hindu Organ Donation Steering Group which was established following a meeting in Parliament organised by Lord Jitesh Gadhia and Kirit Modi in July 2019. The Alliance has established a national reputation for leading on organ donation in our communities and is regularly approached by NHS Blood & Transplant and others to work with them. The work is now extending to promote blood and stem cell donation to help those in need of these as well.
Our work extends beyond raising awareness and includes:
- Development content, including short films and promotional material on the change in the law to Deemed Consent (Opt-Out) in England in partnership with NHSBT.
- Support community organisations in seeking funding to promote organ donation through the Community Investment Scheme (CIS) and contributing to reports and strategies.
- Facilitate and provide speakers/ambassadors to promote awareness at local and national events.
- Create and promote campaigns, including the Paryushan and Diwali and resources that will encourage communities to discuss organ donation and ultimately register their organ donation decision.
We are grateful for the support and guidance of our Patrons
Pramod Thakkar, Vice Chairman
Pramod is a project consultant, a former Governor of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and a former Director of Meera Nursing Home which he founded and ran until 2015. He is Chair of Jalaram Charitable Trust, Leicester and project managed the design and construction of the first Jalaram Bapa Temple in the UK in the mid-1990s and involved in multi-faith activities in the Midlands. Pramod is a trustee of several organisations including Vaishnav Sangh UK and played a pivotal role in acquiring the Shree Dham Haveli, Harrow.
Prafula Shah, Secretary
As a living kidney donor, Prafula is passionate and raises awareness of organ donation and how it transforms and saves lives. She has been featured in several national TV programmes promoting organ donation and the importance of conversations. An award-winning professional with decades of diverse experience as a change communications advisor, Prafula works with some of the UK’s best-known brands/organisations. As an NHS Organ Donation Ambassador, she has spoken at many public events and appeared in several videos to raise awareness and help save lives. She also volunteers for several Jain charities and the Jain community has also recognised this work with a Community Excellence Award.
Anup Mehta, Treasurer
Anup is also the Deputy General Secretary of Vanik Council (UK). Anup has supported several organ donation initiatives, including an engaging awareness-raising event on MATV in December 2020. The event included a comedy sketch by the famous Dr Avani Vyas, Bollywood dances and talks by various dignitaries. His professional career as an NHS Radiographer Manager for over 40 years has provided Anup with valuable insights into organ donation and helped to deepen his empathy and compassion.
Ravi is a BAME Community Leader specializing in Ayurveda and yoga. He has qualifications in Pharmacy, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Yoga, Chiropody and Massage and Nutrition. He is the author of 4 Ayurvedic books. He is a keynote speaker, motivator, lecturer and philanthropist. Since 2015, he has increased by 25% the number of people from the BAME community giving blood and significantly increased those donating organs, in East London. His charity, Make It Beat, teaches Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation free of charge.
Dr Sunil Daga
Dr Sunil Daga is a Consultant Kidney Transplant specialist and is a BAME ambassador promoting organ donation education and awareness in the UK. He has supported numerous activities, seminars, radio and TV show and speaks fluently in Hindi, Gujarati and Marwari in addition to English. Clinically, his work involves managing patients with kidney failure, assessing and working up living kidney donors. His research work involves exploring health inequalities, decision making, and risk assessment in kidney transplantation and donation.
Dr Niraj Doshi
Niraj lost his father to complications resulting from kidney failure in 2004 while he was waiting for a transplant. Since then, he has worked across the Hindu and Jain communities to raise awareness of organ donation, given the impact that the loss of his father had on him, his sister, and his mother. Niraj has previously worked as a Youth Advisor to NHS England and recently qualified as. a doctor from UCL.
Dr Harsha Jani
Harsha is Trustee Param Shakti Peeth of UK. After completing her PhD in Neuroscience, Harsha pursued research at the Medical Research Council. Passionate about the promotion of blood and organ donation in the community, she also leads UK Parliament Week outreach programs for Hindu Community and has delivered social and community work during the Covid-19 pandemic. Recipient of UK Parliament ‘Highly Commended Volunteer of The Year 2021’ Award. At Param Shakti Peeth of UK, she looks after women who are victims of foeticide and infanticide in India and resettling disenfranchised children.
Jyoti works as a Physiotherapist having had a kidney transplant in September 2020 and shares her experience:
‘Getting that call for a ‘Gift of Life’ changed my life. I’m now fulfilling my dream with a passion for achieving my patients’ goals in returning them back to normality and providing the best quality of life for them. I still take 17 tablets a day to keep my kidney and me alive, but my personal experience allows me to strive towards improving my patients’ goals and quality of life’.
Bharat & Avril Patel
Bharat suffers from an extremely rare eye condition ‘Keratoconus’ in which the cornea grows into a cone shape rather than normal spherical leading to total loss of sight. Bharat received a cornea graft (transplant) from a donor cornea via the NHS donor bank.
In 2001, he was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure, a condition in which he felt that ‘life was not worth living and was being kept alive just for the sake of it.’ However, in 2008, in an act of extreme courage, sheer bravery and unselfish giving, Avril donated her kidney to Bharat. The transplant was a huge success giving him a new lease of life – a life which he continues to donate to the work of Ang Seva (Organ Donation).
Shivum joined JHOD after the sudden passing of his father in 2019. The family decided to donate his organs without having previously spoken to him about it. Since then, 32-year-old Shivum, has actively worked with JHOD and the NHS Blood & Transplant to spread the word and share the family’s story encouraging everyone to have that conversation. He has spoken at many events, featured in radio & TV campaigns and continues to passionately spread the message to help save lives.
Pinky is currently the National Sampark Secretary of the National Hindu Students’ Forum (UK), the largest Hindu student movement outside of Bharat. Founded 29 years ago, NHSF (UK) is active in almost half of all universities in the UK and reaches over 10,000 students annually through its activities. She recently qualified as a doctor from King’s College London and interested in Transplant Surgery.
Manhar is a professional engineer and has a master’s degree in Industrial Management. He has coordinated several organ donation projects, raising awareness of the need for living organ donation within the Jain community. He established Jain Samaj Leicester in 1973 and has been Chairman of Vanik Council since 1995. He has run Jainism courses and Jain chaplaincy service in hospitals. For his service to the Jain community, he has been presented with the OneJain Lifetime Achievement award in 2018.
Sonoo has been volunteering and a community champion in the borough of Harrow since 1974 and is a community leader raising awareness for Thalassaemia, in various aspects. She is also Chair of Harrow Police and Community Consultative Group for 10 years working closely with New Scotland Yard on a range of topics from Hate Crime, Stop and Search to Terrorism as well as on Policing issues at City Hall. Sonoo also Chair’s Harrow Interfaith promoting harmony amongst diverse communities, raising awareness of Health empowering topics such as Organ and Blood Donation.
As a living kidney donor, Harsha is passionate about raising awareness of organ donation and a strong believer that ‘when you light a lamp for somebody, it brightens your path too’. A retired local government officer with 35 years of experience, Harsha now devotes time to looking after her grandchildren and helps to raise awareness of organ donation at community events and as an NHSBT Ambassador.
Kirit is the Chair and founder of South Asian Health Action (SAHA) Charity in the UK. SAHA specialises in engaging, educating, exploring and empowering South Asian patients, carers, and communities on living and organ donation after death, blood and stem cell. SAHA also works to raise awareness of mental health and works with decision-makers and those in need of support. He is a patient leader & founder of Leicestershire’s South Asian Diabetes group, a peer-led support group and an NHSBT Organ Donation Ambassador for the Midlands region.
Sina is a Clinical Analyst for Guys & St Thomas’ NHS Trust and is married to Jay Patel – they have three wonderful children, Aari and twin girls Iyla and Asha.
Both Sina and Jay became involved in organ donation following the loss of their three-and-a-half-year-old son Aari in 2016. They both made the decision to donate Aari’s organs. Seven organs were donated to help two other children who are both still doing well today. As NHSBT Organ Donation Ambassadors they work as volunteers to promote organ donation and have won awards for their work, being recognized by NHSBT and the British Transplantation Society in 2019. Aari’s story continues to help raise awareness and has also been part of a government campaign to promote organ donations across Hindu and BAME communities. Sina is also a panel member of the NHSBT community investment scheme to review and award projects and continues promoting this vital cause.
Bhavna is a consultant Nephrologist and Physician, an elected Medical and Dental staff Governor for the Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and chair for the trust’s BAME staff. Bhavna set up the Aintree Kidney Patients’ Association charity in 2007 and is a founder trustee of Arsha Vidya UK. She is also on Hindu Forum’s medical panel and organises health talks and clinics about organ donation for professionals and in the community. She supports organ donation from a dharmic perspective.
Purvi is a prescribing clinical pharmacist, specialising in diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Prior to running and managing her own pharmacy in Colindale, Northwest London, Purvi worked in surgery with a large population, in a patient-facing role providing effective medicinal diagnosis and reviews. She has volunteered for many Jain organisations in the UK and presented seminars on health to promote healthy living. In her spare time, she loves singing, dancing, cooking & travelling.
Nilesh is Honorary President of the Oshwal Association of the UK and a Chartered Certified Accountant by profession, running his own practice since 1982. With a wealth of knowledge on various financial matters, he has built strong relations with clients and his community. He loves travelling and exploring different cultures from around the world and plays badminton regularly. A keen supporter of organ donation, he is currently helping to produce a Gujrati play about organ donation to encourage more donors from the community.
Dr Satya Sharma, MBE, DL
Satya is a retired general medical practitioner and was previously Chairman of the Local Medical Committee in Wolverhampton and a member of the General Medical Practitioners Committee BMA representing Black Country GPs for 9 years. He became a Fellow of the British Medical Association in 2013 for extraordinary service to the profession and was awarded an MBE for services to Wolverhampton and healthcare in 2010. As an ambassador for organ donation in the West Midlands, he keenly promotes Organ Donation in all sections of society.
Dr Neil Soneji
Neil is a Consultant Radiologist and volunteer from the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden London. The Mandir has been actively involved in various projects promoting the message of Organ Donation in the Hindu Community since 2012. This has included the production of educational videos and leaflets focussing on both living and deceased organ donation as well as organising conferences and awareness drives within Temples and external community venues across the country.
Vijay is passionate about raising awareness and educating members of the Asian community about organ donation. An avid businessman, Vijay also enjoys singing and performing and engages communities through live and televised events. Through his roles as trustee of the Jain Network, Vice Chairman of the Vanik Council and former London area chairman of Jain Samaj Europe, he has helped to promote organ donation through these organisations.
Rumit Shah is the Honorary President of the Oshwal Association of the UK (OAUK). After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Tax Adviser, I pursued a career in investment banking with Deutsche Bank dealing with complex and large financing and structured transactions. I believe in the philosophy of giving back to society, and after leaving Deutsche Bank was involved full-time with a conservation charity saving the Chinese tiger from extinction. I have also been involved with OAUK for a number of years, including Chairing the Board of Advisors and was instrumental in organising the Oshwal Health Fair, where the organ donation campaign had prominence. I have assisted the community by organising webinars on topical subjects on health, education and wealth management.
Lord Jitesh Gadhia
Lord Jitesh Gadhia is an investment banker and businessman and has been a Member of the House of Lords since 2016.
Jitesh was previously Senior Managing Director at Blackstone based in London and has over 30 years of financial services experience, having also held senior positions at Barclays Capital, ABN AMRO and Baring Brothers. He has advised on a wide range of high-profile M&A transactions across developed and emerging markets.
He is currently a Board Member of UK Government Investments, the centre of excellence for corporate finance and governance for the UK Government, managing major assets, including NatWest Group.
Jitesh is also a Board Member of FTSE100 home-builder Taylor Wimpey plc and Compare The Market Limited, the UK’s largest digital price comparison website for financial and household services. In addition, he is a Director of Accord Healthcare, a leading supplier of generic pharmaceuticals in the UK and internationally.
Jitesh graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in economics and attended the London Business School as a Sloan Fellow. He has served as a Trustee of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and Nesta and is an alumnus of the Forum of Young Global Leaders selected by the World Economic Forum.
Sir Nilesh Samani
Professor Sir Nilesh J Samani, MD FRCP FMedSci, is the Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation. He is also a Professor of cardiology at the University of Leicester, and an Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at the Cardiac Centre, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester.
Professor Samani was previously Head of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester and Director of the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Unit. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and an Emeritus NIHR Senior Investigator. Professor Samani is a Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire and was knighted for his services to Medicine and Medical Research in 2015.
Professor Sejal Saglani
Sejal is a Professor of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College London and is a volunteer and Chair of Healthcare Activities at BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, UK. She has been involved in raising awareness about the importance of organ donation among the South Asian Hindu community for over 10 years. BAPS has been active in raising awareness about living and deceased organ donation, as well as marrow donation among Hindus via projects undertaken in collaboration with NHSBT and other Hindu communities.