Expats roll up their sleeves to help others

Expats in Shanghai have been doing their part to encourage blood donation by organizing drives.

                                                      Arash Estilaf                                                                Raj Kumar Khosa

Expats in Shanghai have been doing their part to encourage blood donation by organizing drives.

On May 13, the city’s Indian Association organized a donor event at the Shanghai Blood Center. It was called “Love Shanghai, the Life Gift from India,” the sixth of its kind involving Indian expats since 2013. It drew donors from the city and neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

Raj Kumar Khosa, chief executive officer at the Shanghai branch of Axis Bank, has participated in each blood drive for the past six years. In its first year, he said, the drive received 114 units of blood. Last month, 214 units were donated by 194 Indian expats.

“In the past six years, 715 Indians have donated 985 units of blood,” said Khosa, who keeps a record of the event and has lived in the city for 12 years. “Blood is the invaluable gift that we can give as a way of paying back the society where we live.”

Shanghai’s Indian Association has about 4,000 members, who are active in many charity events and volunteer programs.

“The Indians who work in Shanghai come and go,” Khosa said. “We have new donors every year, along with those who have participated every year since we started. Some Chinese colleagues at my bank have been impressed by our campaign and have also started to donate blood.”

Khosa said it was a bit touch and go for him this year because he is one year over the 55-year age limit for giving blood.

“I had to push the doctors slightly this time,” he said.

Iranian Arash Estilaf is another foreigner who has organized blood drives among compatriots.

Estilaf is a bit of a celebrity in his community. He works as an emcee for a Shanghai TV channel and is a regular guest on programs aired by a Hunan Province-based channel.

Estilaf, who has some 230,000 followers on his Weibo account, contacted the Shanghai Blood Center last year and organized his first blood drive. It attracted some 200 Iranians living in Shanghai.

“We plan to organize another drive later this year,” he told Shanghai Daily. “After living in China for over 10 years, I always wanted to do something for this country beyond my programs. Donating blood is a worthwhile activity.”

He also helped organized similar blood donation campaigns in Hubei and Anhui provinces.

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