Rajasthani woman's selfless milk donations transform lives of thousands of Infants

Raksha Jain has donated 160.81 litres of her milk to feed over 5,000 children in need. Her name now shines in golden letters in the India Book of Records, writes Rajesh Asnani
Raksha Jain has breastfed countless newborns who couldn’t receive their biological mothers’ milk for various reasons
Raksha Jain has breastfed countless newborns who couldn’t receive their biological mothers’ milk for various reasons

RAJASTHAN : In the bustling city of Rajasthan’s Bhilwara, dubbed the Manchester of Rajasthan, Raksha Jain has set a record that transcends ordinary achievements. Raksha has breastfed countless newborns who couldn’t receive their biological mothers’ milk for various reasons, giving them a precious chance at life. Her incredible act has earned her comparisons to historical maternal figures like Yashoda and Panna Dhai, and her name now shines in golden letters in the India Book of Records.

Raksha, an electrotherapist by profession and a mother of two, has become a beacon of hope for thousands of children in Bhilwara and its neighbouring cities. Following her first delivery, she donated 54 liters of milk to Anchal Mother Milk Bank from June 2018 to 2019. After her second delivery, she donated an astonishing 106.81 liters of milk from February 15 to November 14, 2023. Her total contribution of 160.81 liters provided over 5,000 milk feeds to children in need.

Raksha’s journey began out of both necessity and compassion. After giving birth to her son on June 17, 2018, she struggled to produce milk for three days, a distressing situation that led her to seek help from Anchal Mother Milk Bank at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital. Inspired by the assistance she received, Raksha vowed to help other children facing similar challenges. “When I couldn’t produce milk, my family was very worried. We had never experienced such a thing before. The milk from Anchal Mother Milk Bank saved my child. Realizing that another mother’s donation helped my baby, I prayed to God to give me enough milk to help others.”

Her prayers were answered. Raksha began producing an abundant supply of milk, which she chose to donate rather than let go to waste. Despite advice to take medication to dry up her milk, Raksha decided to endure the physical pain and continue donating. “Donating milk sounds noble, but it was painful. My breasts would become stiff, and I had to express the milk regularly. But I thought, if another mother’s milk saved my child, why not give my milk to those who need it?”

Raksha started donating milk regularly from June 20, 2018, often donating up to a liter in one sitting. The records at the Mother Milk Bank meticulously document her donations. She would visit the bank daily after feeding her child, feeling a deep sense of fulfillment in helping countless children who otherwise might have faced malnutrition.

During her first delivery, Raksha stayed at her in-laws’ home in Mandal town and traveled daily to Bhilwara for her donations. “The round-trip taxi fare to Bhilwara was Rs. 700, yet I made the trip and donated milk for 25 consecutive days.” As the daily taxi fare became too expensive, Raksha decided to take her scooty to Bhilwara, even in the rain. She bought a carrycot for her one-month-old child, securing her son to her chest while riding her scooty to the Mother Milk Bank.

She fondly recalls a poignant moment when hospital staff referred to a baby girl as her daughter because the infant had been surviving on her milk since birth after the death of her mother during delivery.

“I took the girl in my arms and felt as if I were her mother. You can donate blood throughout your life, but donating mother’s milk is a rare opportunity.”

Raksha’s second child was born on February 12, 2023. She resumed her milk donations just three days after giving birth, continuing until November 14, 2023. Despite the physical demands and challenges, she remained committed to her cause, believing it was her calling to help those in need.

Raksha’s story is a testament to the power of maternal love and the impact of selfless acts. She has become the highest milk donor in Rajasthan and possibly the entire country. Her milk donations have benefited not only children in Bhilwara but also those in neighboring districts like Ajmer.

She emphasises that milk donation is a simple process, but it requires family support. Her husband, Sunil, mother, Sharda Devi, and brother, Rahul Soni, played crucial roles in her journey. Her brother would drive her to the hospital for donations, and her mother took care of household duties.

Raksha’s inspiring story spreads awareness about the importance of milk donation. She encourages both women and men to support this cause, highlighting that it is not only a woman’s responsibility but a family’s collective effort. “Even after donating 160.81 liters of milk, my health remains unaffected. I am healthy and incredibly happy to be a mother to thousands of children who have received my milk.”

Raksha explained that she felt this work should be expanded, so she formed the Life Welfare Society Pink Squad by collaborating with various societies. Initially, women were reluctant to join, but the initiative gradually gained momentum. Now, a 20-woman organisation has been established, inspiring people to help save newborns from malnutrition.

The Process of Milk Donation

The Aanchal Mother Milk Bank at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Bhilwara collects milk donations from healthy women who have recently given birth and produce surplus milk. The process involves filling out a simple form, and the milk is collected in 150 ml bottles. The milk is then pasteurized, tested, and stored safely in a freezer for up to six months. Needy babies receive this milk upon a doctor’s prescription, ensuring that every drop of donated milk goes to a child in need.

Her selfless act of donating her breast milk has set a remarkable example of maternal love and community service. Her story highlights the significant impact one person can make and inspires others to contribute to society. Through her dedication, Raksha has not only saved lives but also created a legacy of compassion and generosity that will be remembered for years to come.

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The New Indian Express