Emma and Sandra Venter, Awareness & Recovery Manager, Vitanova

Teaching kids to help others tomorrow starts today

Talking about organ and tissue donation is not always an easy conversation to have, but it’s an important one.

Currently, there are thousands of people – including children – worldwide waiting for lifesaving organ and life-enhancing tissue transplants. Each year, many die waiting. There clearly is a need for donation that remains unmet.

An everyday hero steps up

Luckily, South African born film and creative director, producer, designer, writer and proud dad of two children, Roydon Turner, has made it his life’s work to educate children on the topic of helping others through organ and tissue donation.

Emma and Sandra Venter, Awareness & Recovery Manager, Vitanova

Roydon was inspired to become involved in donation awareness through the passing of his brother Bradley at the age of 12 and working closely with families whose children required transplants.  Growing up in a divided South African society where he learnt first-hand how biases, prejudices and beliefs at a very young age could quickly shape one’s future, he realised that he could use design and film to change attitudes about organ and tissue donation.

Orgamites to the rescue!

Roydon’s contribution was to create the Orgamites, a global education programme that introduces the subject of organ and tissue donation to children in an age-appropriate way.

Its animated characters — a team of lifesaving organs and tissue — help children and their families learn about and appreciate the roles of organs, as well as learn what organ and tissue donation is all about. They also introduce the concepts of kindness and caring for ourselves, our communities, and the planet.

Awareness events and campaigns help shine a light on those in need, and honour those who have generously donated to save lives. But saving lives now and for generations to come also requires education, starting at an early age. Parents, teachers and healthcare practitioners can all play a role. 

Some of the goals of the Orgamites programme include:

  • To inspire and equip children and their families to form healthier habits that last a lifetime.
  • To increase awareness about our organs and the roles they play in keeping us healthy.
  • To encourage children and parents to have some all-important conversations about organ donation by creating informative, conversation-starting tools and resources.

Why talk to kids about organ and tissue donation?

Around the world, in every country, there’s a shortage of donated organs and tissue, especially for children, who tend to wait two and a half times longer than adults. Why the longer wait? This is partly because thousands of people who pass away do not donate because many families don’t talk about organ donation before it’s too late.

Without making one’s decision to donate clear, surviving family members are left unsure what their loved ones might have chosen and therefore (in the event of death) are unwilling to give consent to donate their loved one’s organs and tissue. Only by having more open conversations about donation, can we hope to rectify this imbalance.

Using the Orgamites programme to talk to your children

Whether you’re a school principal, educator, healthcare practitioner or parent — the Orgamites team has endeavoured to make this topic as fun, lifegiving and informative as possible… so that families can lead happier, healthier lives, feel equipped to make more informed choices and express those choices to their loved ones when they’re ready to.

Visit the Orgamites for a whole arsenal of material you can use to talk to your kids about this important topic. From posters, to colouring material and teacher toolkits according to different age groups, you will find it all here.  You can also watch Heart of Hope, a heart-warming movie with a touching plot, a stellar cast and a crucial message for both parents and children.

Thanks to the work of Roydon Turner, as well as other committed and like-minded people, teaching our kids how to help others can be a rewarding experience!

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