Together, We Can!

Pune has always been in the news. History is proof that Pune fought for its self-respect; first with the Mughals and then the British. Shivaji Maharaj and Lokmanya Tilak have set examples of fighting the enemy with courage, grit, and a plan.

Pune, famously known as the Oxford of the East, sits rightfully on the world map. The setting up of Cyber City is, hence, a natural produce of the city’s education culture.

Sport is an integral part of Pune.  And, support for art is the city’s character.

Lately, Pune added another feather to its cap. The number of organ donations in Pune in the year 2017 was 70, making the city the leader in Maharashtra and second in the country. However, the important question is — is this figure sufficient?

In India, more than 5 lakh people are in need of organs. 200 deaths occur daily due to organ failure. On an average, only one amongst >3 crore population is donating their organs. As on today, five states and two union territories are yet to open their account of organ donations.

So, how can this gap between demand and supply be bridged?

ZTCC Pune, ably led by Mrs Arati Gokhale, is doing commendable work. Maharashtra’s Medical Education Minister, Shri Girish Mahajan, lends all the support needed. Media gives deserving exposure and appreciation for this noble concept.
Hospitals are aggressively promoting organ donation and have built the required facilities too.
Police department is always on its toes to swiftly facilitate green corridors.

Despite having all the aforementioned, why the jarring numbers? Where does the loophole lie?

Is it lack of awareness about organ donation? Are myths and misconceptions hindering progress?

In November 2014, forty of us found ourselves in a team participating in a competition. As a part of the competition, we chose to make a 5-minute film on organ donation. This was our introduction to the vast subject. As we delved deeper in the process of creating the script and film, we were exposed to the alarming situation in the field of organ donation. We promised, immediately, that we wouldn’t limit ourselves to the competition but do some constructive work to bring about a transformation (however small).

Thus, the vision we dreamt was to take the number of organ donations happening in Pune annually from two-digit to four-digits. …and ReBirth transpired!

The team of 40 was an ideal mix of talent, skill, and resolve. We had a varied age group with different professions and multiple methods of approach to challenges yet had a single-minded devotion to our goal.

With time, our team grew to more than 120. More colours got added to the existing multi-talented team. Any height, with this team, seemed scalable.

ReBirth targeted the dual challengers — myths and misconceptions.

First and foremost, a helpline number was launched on 10th of August, 2016. In appreciation of this act, the Government of Maharashtra declared ReBirth’s helpline number, 1800 2747 444, as their own within six days of the launch.

ReBirth then formed a team of more than 25 speakers who were tasked to deliver presentations on organ donation to various sections of the society.

Another brilliant idea struck for spreading awareness virally. ReBirth announced a short film competition —Green Corridor — on 15th of May, 2017.

Green Corridor’ got a nation-wide response. 44 films from all across India were submitted. Along with the films submitted from different parts of Maharashtra, entries also came in from Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa, Jaipur, Goa, Hyderabad, and Chennai.

After this huge success, ReBirth immediately unveiled a unique event — Rangathon. Courtesy this event, participants were to relish their senses through experiences like music, colour, rain dance, blindfold walk, and much more.

‘Rangathon’ saw a participation of 3500+ citizens. The event at Amanora witnessed people wearing ReBirth T-shirts and enjoying themselves to the hilt. Taking note of the sincere efforts put in, the Government of Maharashtra has permissed ReBirth to officially use the logo of the Government. (Do take a moment to read the letter of appreciation printed on Page 11.)

ZTCC Pune, a government organisation that is the decision maker in the field of organ donation, has inducted ReBirth in its nine-member committee.

Indian Medial Association (IMA) and Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine (ISCCM) have appreciated the efforts of ReBirth and declared their wholehearted support.

The momentum is picking up in Pune. ReBirth has been receiving enquiries from all across Maharashtra to start its branches. Plans are being chalked out for founding ReBirth’s Nashik branch soon.

The day isn’t far away when not only will Maharashtra be self-sufficient for organs but we will also have excess of donors across the country. Citizens from around the world will lean onto India to show them a path towards self-sufficiency of organs.

The vision of ‘two-digits to four-digits’ now seems possible.

Let’s all pull Pune on the world map again.
Let’s all play our part in this noble cause.
Let’s all join hands to make this world a better place to live in. 


Rajesh Shetty
President, ReBirth