Working donkeys in South Africa aren’t always treated with the respect and compassion they deserve – but, thanks to SPANA’s outreach project with The Farm Animal Centre for Education (FACE), there is hope. Find out how we’re working together with the local community to improve the status and welfare of these hardworking animals.
When Peter Ngbase noticed that many donkeys were suffering abuse at the hands of young boys in his village of Nobumba, he set out to help these forgotten creatures.
Peter contacted FACE and, along with other local donkey owners, he enrolled to train as a Working Donkey Champion (WDC).
Peter learnt about working with donkeys from his grandfather.
Things were different in those days. People weren’t so cruel to their donkeys, they respected them.
Today, compassion is in short supply for donkeys in Nobumba. FACE’s programme focuses on changing children’s attitudes to working animals, encouraging them to become more sympathetic to animal suffering and take better care of their own donkeys.
After receiving FACE Working Donkey Champion training in 2015, Peter brought his new-found animal husbandry skills back to his community, working across the region to deliver working animal welfare classes to both children and adult animal owners.
When Peter first started running his classes, children viewed animals as ‘different’ from humans, undeserving of the same empathy as people. But Peter has brought his passion to working animal welfare to the people of his community, teaching them about how to care for their donkey’s needs. His natural compassion for donkeys and understanding of his local community has helped him transform attitudes – with impressive results for donkey welfare.
Recently, SPANA has run a competition to recognise and encourage the good work that goes on across our education programme. Educators were asked to submit a case study to share good practice and show how humane education can change the future for both communities and their donkeys.
Although all of the entries are inspirational, after much deliberation, SPANA has decided that Peter’s passion and commitment to educating children is exemplary and has recognised him this year’s award winner.
Peter was so humbled that his work with the children won this competition that he cried when he heard the good news. He said
The future of South Africa’s donkeys is much brighter thanks to children’s changing attitudes.