Art of Living – Service Projects

Which Art of Living Seva Project appeals to you the most and why?

Answer by : Ankit Bajoria – Volunteer from Kolkata 
I am a volunteer with the Art of Living at Kolkata. I have been a part of different seva projects and have seen how acts of goodness transform lives. Among the various seva projects, the “Blood Donation” project has appealed to me the most.
It was in the August2013 when I donated blood for the first time.It was at a camp organized by  the Art of Living. What convinced me to not just donate blood, but also volunteer for the camp were some facts I learnt, that every second a person in the world needs a unit of donated blood; our country has a huge deficit of blood donors, running into several lakhs; and so many deaths occur just because many healthy people are indifferent towards donating blood.
I wondered why people do not like to donate blood, despite its benefits and realized that people need to be educated about its importance. Our team would go all out to conduct awareness sessions in satsangs, tuition centres, and on roads through one-to-one awareness sessions, inviting them for the camps that were to follow.
Our team leader, Rachna Shroff, was a great inspiration. Watching her being so motivated, we were inspiredtotake care of all thelittle details at the camps whether it was attending to nervous first timers, ensuring that the people who have donated feel well-rested ,or creating a celebratory environment at the camps, as they are a celebration of life. We would also ask the donors to fill a form confirming if they would like to go to hospitals and donate blood for patients and create a database.
When Rachna left the city, another senior volunteer Dr. Sucheta Kumar was always there to guide us. She taught us a great deal about blood donation, such as which of the blood groups are rare, how blood components are used for various purposes, and how to deal with a case of urgent requirement of a blood donor from hospitals. The two of us would spend hours calling people from our databases to ask if they would be able to donate blood for a certain case at a given hospital. There have been several cases where we got calls for certain rare blood groups such as B-ve and the only two people we knew would be available to donate.
There have been times when neither of us were available to handle a requirement case and then some other volunteer would step up. One such volunteer, Amrita, for example, helped a Bangladeshi cancer patient find 15 blood donors in a suburban Kolkata Hospital where most people would not dare to go. The patient’s wife called me a month later to tell me that her husband had recovered and that they were going back to their country. She was so grateful that she was choked, she said found Indians so helpful. There have been numerous examples like them.
We currently have a WhatsApp group where we post requirements for donors and someone is always available to find donors. The frequency of the posts is almost every day.
We cannot be grateful enough to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for giving us the opportunity to be part of such projects. He even launched the website in 2014, which aims at making an online database of people all over the country according to their blood groups and locations.
It is not for no reason that people swarm around Him all the time to get his blessings and as many as 3.5million people are going to celebrate the 35 years of good work done by the Art of Living Foundation at the World Culture Festival. Let us be a part of the historic event that the WCF2016 is going to be.
Credits: Ankit Bajoria

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