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Why idea of donorship attracts young people

- Temirzhan, tell us, please, about non-governmental organization “M-Drive”. Why an organization with car-like name develops donor movement?

- The NGO “M-drive” appeared in 2003 as a club of BMW car fans. Or rather we gathered with my friends – there were 5 of us – and started organizing moto races. We raced for several years and achieved some success. Moto racing is inseparable from the subject of safe traffic. And at a certain moment we decided to start promoting road traffic safety among young people. We travelled and agitated all over Kabardino-Balkaria. As our lives were closely tied to cars we saw a lot of road traffic accidents and got several ourselves. It happened that we gave blood to our friends injured in traffic accidents. And we saw that there was a problem with blood in the republic – too few donors.

- You decided to solve it?

- Yes, at first we started to donate blood regularly: 3 or 4 of us gathered and went to a blood transfusion station. But soon it became clear that we couldn’t solve the problem of blood donors’ deficit in Kabardino-Balkaria this way. Bigger campaigns were needed. We began explanatory work among young people – we told about importance of donorship and its use for the donors themselves. We started organizing regular donorship campaigns – at first there were dozens of participants and then hundreds. In 2010 we came up with an idea to hold a donorship campaign which would unite not only young people in Kabardino-Balkaria, but in other regions of North Caucasus.
By this moment there had already been Donorship Promotion Youth Council in the North Caucasus Federal District. We didn’t think much about the name of for the campaign and named it “Caucasian Donor”.

Temirzhan Baysiyev, head of the non-governmental organization “M-Drive” (the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria), member of Donorship Coordination Center of the RF Public Chamber, chairman of Donorship Promotion Youth Council in the North Caucasus Federal District

- Does this name have any special meaning?

- Absolutely! Lately, the word “Caucasian” has had a negative connotation in our country – we hear only “a Caucasian national”, “Caucasian captivity”, “Caucasian trace”, etc. It is hard for us who live in the Caucasus. So we tried to give this adjective new meaning tying it to one of the most dignified and respected words – the word “donor”. Young people from North Ossetia who liked cars just like we did were the first to support our initiative of “All-Caucasian” donorship campaign. Then a meeting of NGOs of the North Caucasus Federal District took place in Dagestan, where the initiative was widely approved. There we agreed to hold the “Caucasian Donor” every third Thursday of September.

- Why did you choose this day?

- As the campaign was mostly for students, we picked September. We thought it a great idea if students start their academic year with a good cause like that. The campaign was widely supported in the regions of the North Caucasus Federal District. The first “Caucasian Donor” gathered around 500 young people of the federal district. And in 2011, taking part in the RF Public Chamber round table on blood donorship we offered to grand the campaign a status of National Young Donor Day. The round table participants supported the idea and in September 2011 the first National Young Donor Day took place in Russia. In the North Caucasus Federal District alone about 800 people took part in it.

- Temirzhan, are you proud that the initiative of “M-Drive” was supported all over Russia?

- Of course, we are very pleased that the idea which had appeared in an ordinary courtyard in Nalchik had such a widely-spread reaction. It gives comfort. But I think that only campaigns are not enough to solve the problem of lack of donors in the country. Campaigns work out well to attract public attention to the subject of donorship. They stimulate people to go and give blood for the first time. But as we know if the donor does not show up at the blood transfusion station for the second time in halt a year, their blood is wasted, it does not come to those who need it. So it is more important to make the number of regular donors higher. We don’t need campaigns with that, but systematic influence on public consciousness.

- Do you know how to do that?

- I think we should start in schools – tell children about blood donorship, put in their heads an idea about importance and need of regular blood donation. I would stick a poster in a medical office in every school – “When you turn 18 you will be able to donate blood, but now tell everybody about donorship”. You should speak with young people about the fact that a donor is always a healthy person. Propaganda of healthy life style is also very important! Because today a huge number of young people are rejected being blood donors because of their bad health.

- What young people in Kabardino-Balkaria think about such propaganda?

- Today many people say that in our time girls and boys, not only in Kabardino-Balkaria, but in Russia in general do not think it necessary to bring use to the society, that they are individualists and egoists. I don’t agree. Yes, today’s young people are demanding. They want to get a lot from life. But they are ready to give as well. Most often they just don’t know where to give. Donorship is a great idea, a simple way to be of use for others, help those in need. This touches hearts of young people! They are ready to take part.

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