12-year-old Tsegaye, from Bishoftu in Ethiopia, has been a member of SPANA’s animal welfare education club for schoolchildren since September 2021. He lives with his father, mother and siblings, as well as the family’s animals, which include donkeys and sheep.
Before Tsegaye joined the SPANA club, he and his family lacked knowledge about the care their donkeys needed. Unlike the other animals, they did not have a proper shelter or adequate provisions, and they often worked long hours to help the family earn a small income.
But SPANA’s animal welfare classes changed Tsegaye’s attitudes completely. He learnt about the basic needs of animals, how they are sentient beings with feelings, and ways to look after donkeys and other animals to ensure they are happy and healthy.
Tsegaye shared the lessons he learnt from SPANA with his family and others in his community. This has transformed the level of care and respect their donkeys receive. Tsegaye said that the donkeys should all be given names and the family decided to call them ‘Zinar’, ‘Shanko’, ‘Jofare’ and ‘Shole’.
Soon, Tsegaye and his family began taking the donkeys to the local SPANA veterinary clinic for regular check-ups, deworming, and vaccinations. They also ensured that the donkeys had access to clean water and sufficient feed at all times, in addition to grazing on their own.
With the help of his family, Tsegaye also constructed a comfortable and secure shelter to protect the donkeys from the elements. The donkeys can now rest and sleep in the safety of their brand-new shelter, out of the sun, cold and rain.
Tsegaye’s father, Ato, was so thankful to his son and to SPANA for helping to change their atttiudes and improve the care they give to their donkeys. He said ‘Tsegaye has told us the importance of fulfilling all animals’ needs and made us more aware. The knowledge, skills and attitude our son developed at the SPANA club has had a positive impact on our donkeys.’
Due to the care Tsegaye gives to the animals, his family named him ‘a doctor of donkeys’, and he is often referred to as ‘Doctor Tsegaye’ by neighbours and friends in his community.
By providing animal welfare education across the world, SPANA is helping children like Tsegaye to develop feelings of respect and compassion towards animals. This vital work is promoting positive attitudes among the next generation of animal owners and is helping to build a better future for working animals. You can find out more about our education programmes by visiting our Teach page.