In Tanzania, SPANA is reaching in to more classrooms to spread the word about kindness to all animals. Read about one young student who is embracing our message and teaching his community about animal welfare.
Every morning, eleven-year-old Donald wakes at sunrise, eats a quick breakfast and races outside to spend time before school with his family’s two donkeys. As Donald feeds them and refills their water trough, he speaks calmly to the animals and strokes their heads. It’s his morning ritual before he heads to school where, thanks to SPANA and our outreach partner Tanzanian Animal Protection Organisation (TAPO), he can continue to develop his skills and love of working animals through regular humane welfare classes.
During these classes, Donald and his friends sing the donkey welfare song, draw pictures of working animals and recite the five animal welfare needs. His teachers regularly take the class to visit local veterinary clinics where they help the vets to provide food and water to donkeys awaiting treatment.
Donald especially loves being able to assist the vets as they work, handing them veterinary equipment and supplies. It’s here that he gets to see first hand the problems caused by mistreatment and poor animal husbandry; he hopes that one day, he too can be a vet.
Many of Donald’s classmates own working animals and have grown up around donkeys, cows, goats and chickens. But, until recently, they paid very little notice to their donkeys, considering them less valuable to their families than other animals that produce milk or meat. Our project is changing the way people in this region of Tanzania see animal welfare, promoting health, safety and welfare for all working donkeys through mobile clinics and community training.
Working with TAPO, we’re now expanding our work in 15 village schools through their humane welfare education curriculum. This six month programme develops knowledge about donkey care and protection among primary school aged students. And, it’s not only the animals that benefit – SPANA’s message of kindness, respect and compassion to all living creatures means that children’s relationships with each other benefit just as much.
Teacher Madam Kimario is delighted with the impact of this project saying:
‘Thank you so much for educating my students about donkey welfare and humane education. The increased knowledge will help to improve the welfare of village donkeys and other animals.’
When Donald returns home, he excitedly shares what he has learned about animal welfare with his parents and younger siblings. He speaks about the importance of handling donkeys gently, shows his siblings how to provide the best nutrition to the animals and even teaches his neighbours how to tell when their donkeys are overheated or sick. At the end of the day, Donald brings the donkeys a final bucket of fresh water and pats them goodnight before heading to bed.
For Donald and hundreds of children across the region, these classes mark a change in the relationship between donkey owners and their animals, promising a new quality of life for working animals here. Through fun and engaging class activities, we are ensuring that tens of thousands of working animals can live better and more productive lives. The lasting change that these classes bring is life changing for humans and animals alike.