The densely populated city of Varanasi is home to over 1, 50,000 street dogs. But with little or no infrastructure for formal treatment and animal care, and no consistent government or private ABC-ARV programme, the need in Varanasi was to provide immediate relief to animals, but through empowering local people that were more capable to continue caring for animals and respond to the animal rights challenges of the city.
What’s The Programme About?
It was thus envisaged to create a programme that would rely on the compassion and activism of the individuals of Varanasi, who would in time, create a strong movement for animal rights.
While developing the programme, we narrowed down on three areas of urgent need. To begin with, the dogs on the streets needed immediate first aid, two, the first aid would require support and care from the local community, and lastly, local activists needed to be identified, educated and trained for animal care.
Using extensive research and practical methodology, we were able to meet and engage with over 60 animal lovers of Varanasi. Work with activists revolved around first aid, training them to work with the community and care for animals in their areas.
Progressively, we started working with the local community, using first-aid treatments as triggers for action and compassion. Active engagement of the community ensured, who would then willingly undertake follow-ups and even report cases of new injuries and ailments. Chaiwallas, rickshaw pullers and everyone in the community actively participated in saving these animals.
Every first-aid treatment itself provided us with an opportunity for education and awareness, but formal methods of reaching out to children through schools and colleges were also undertaken.
Today, we’re a strong community of 4 leaders, 30 activists, and countless community workers, who can respond to the changing needs of Varanasi.