Happy New Year!

Here’s to 2017!  I hope this year brings peace and happiness to us all.
The last year, 2016,  came and went by so quickly (scary how fast it goes) and I am proud of the progress Animal People Alliance (APA) has made in the course of these last 12 months. In addition to developing our new direction and strategy that we will be launching in January (details are below) our team on the ground in Kolkata has also been busy:
  1. Providing shelter, food and medicine to several groups of stray animals at the Made By Survivors Jewelry Training Center. We have also used the opportunity to teach the women in the jewelry program about proper care of street animals, how to read body language of animals and how to treat them with compassion. This eventually eliminated the stigma attached to the animals, especially cats. Now the girls love the strays and have even taken control of feeding the animals and learning from the vet when he visits.
  2. Providing shelter, food and medical treatment for strays for issues ranging from a broken leg from a hit and run accident, mange, pregnancy and even cancer. We sponsored life saving chemotherapy for a stray dog named Ludo (the same dog btw who was a victim of the hit and run) and she’s just been given a clean bill of health!
  3. Working with local kids in two localities and teaching them how to properly care for animals, read their body language and help improve their living conditions on the streets.

The 2016 APA Volunteer Group!

Motivated by the inspirational animal welfare conference we recently attended in Mumbai, we have an exciting new goal for the year 2017. I will share all of that with you later in this post, but I’d first like to report on the successful fundraising volunteer trip we did in October. A small group of really fun people from the U.S. and the U.K. met up in Kolkata to visit a few of our partner projects working with animals.  They toured Love N Care For Animals and Mother’s Heart, two shelters that do rescue work for abandoned animals. They also visited the Made By Survivors jewelry project and the Women’s Interlink Foundation Shelter Home. I met up with everyone in Sikkim, which is considered one of the more progressive states in India as far as animal welfare programs go. The animal shelter here that we planned to visit, was unfortunately closed, but we had a great time getting to know one another and exploring such a beautiful part of the country regardless. I’ve travelled all over India, and this was one of the more beautiful places I have been to. Back in Kolkata, we experienced Durga Puja, one of the most important religious festivals in Kolkata, people all over the streets and everything lit up for the carnival – just beautiful and crazy, everyone in our group left the city feeling excited and inspired.

Ludo’s chemo treatment

In November, Paul and I attended the India For Animals conference in Mumbai to represent Animal People Alliance. We met so many people dedicated to helping animals all over the country.  There was one particular organization based out of Pune called ResQ, that focused its efforts on mobile rescue units that go out on the streets. For various reasons, this seems like a great way to move forward for us as well:
  • It’s more cost efficient
  • Animals experience much less stress being treated in their own environment.
  • Can increase public awareness and often encourages the community to be involved in rescue and rehabilitation. I have had the opportunity to see this firsthand with Animal Aid Unlimited in Udaipur when I got to ride in the ambulance for the day.

Maura at Love And Care Animal Hospital

Of course, we will still work to train groups of girls to become veterinary assistants who can do service in animal hospitals around Kolkata. But as we continue working to achieve this, we now have added this new goal. Although it will be a challenge putting all this into place, it is exciting to me and we have every reason to believe this particular goal can be realized in the short term. We hope sometime this year to have an Animal People Alliance ambulance out there being of service to street animals and the people who look after them.
We will announce next years fundraising and cultural trip early next month, so keep checking our Facebook Page to stay up to date!
Happy New Year!
Belinda xxxx

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