The Tamil Youth Organisation – UK has launched a campaign to encourage British Tamils to register themselves as organ donors.
The campaign 'Anka Thaanam' (Organ Donation) will see members of the TYO raising awareness in Tamil and English at community events and through friends and family to get as many new donors as possible.
'Anka Thaanam' commenced on July 5, marking the 25th Karumpuli Naal, and will end on July 25, the day Tamils remember the pogroms of Black July.
“There is a real need to raise awareness about the importance of registering as an organ donor within the Tamil community,” said Gowsi Ananthasigamany, a member of TYO.
"Each and every one of us could be in a situation where we are in need of a donor organ. An organ is more likely to accepted by the body if the donor and the recipient are of the same ethnic origin.
“Every year over a 1000 people die unnecessarily. We are hoping to get as many people as possible to sign up by the 25th of July […] It was on that day in 1983, Kuttimani Anna was murdered along with thousands of other Tamils during the Black July pogroms. His eyes were gouged out after he pledged to donate his eyes in the hope that they at least will be able to see Tamil Eelam."
NHS statistics show that only 29% of British are registered as organ donors and only 2% of those registered are Black or South Asian, although members from these ethnic origins are three times more likely to need a transplant.
Black and South Asian British have to wait twice as long for a kidney transplant due to a lack of donors.
For more information or to register as an organ donor, visit www.tyouk.org.