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Kidney Research UK’s Scottish peer educators struck gold on Friday night, winning the health category at the CEMVO Scotland Ethnic Minority Impact Awards. The awards celebrate the contributions our diverse communities make to Scotland socially, culturally and economically.

Since 2014 Kidney Research UK has run projects raising awareness of kidney disease and organ donation among ethnic minority communities in Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government. The peer educator team, comprised of volunteers, create opportunities to speak with religious and ethnic minority communities, often opening debate about the principles of organ donation by sharing the realities of kidney disease. The team has seen success through attending religious and community events and recruiting volunteers from the communities the programme is trying to reach.

CEMVO Peer Educator Awards in Scotland 2018
CEMVO Peer Educator Awards

Kidney failure is up to five times more common in people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. People from these communities are more likely to need a kidney transplant, but they have to wait even longer to have one.

Aimed at breaking down cultural barriers and addressing subjects often seen as ‘taboo’, the team’s work has encouraged healthy conversation between families, friends and communities.

Neerja Jain, Health Improvement Programme Manager for Kidney Research UK said: “The peer educators have attended numerous, wide-ranging life-saving awareness events in Glasgow and Edinburgh, engaging with over 7,000 people and registering almost 1,000 people as organ donors on the NHS organ donor register.

“Now in our fifth year of funding from the Scottish Government, this vital work could not be possible without their fantastic support of our work and belief in our peer educator model. We are indebted to them and to the community networks that support our work as well as to the many other supporters – doctors, patients and local organisations – it’s a real team effort.”

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