After a 20 year career in admin, Rasha Hassaneen made the decision to quit her job in Egypt and embark on a new path in animal welfare. She has now completed an animal birth control course at the WVS ITC in Ooty, India, volunteered at our dog shelter in Thailand, and most recently, joined our clinic in Goa assisting sister charity Mission Rabies with their vaccination drive. We caught up with her to find out her motivation behind this work, and what her next project will be!
On completion of her veterinary assistant certificate in the USA, Rasha joined our course in animal birth control in India, and “learnt how to make a real difference to animals all over the world.” The animals of Ooty suffer many of the same issues as Rasha experiences back home in Cairo and she wanted to learn how to help them and treat animals, even in difficult conditions. “The handlers in Ooty were so efficient and everything was working so well even in difficult conditions. This environment really helped me improve my skills and learn what works well.”
Volunteering on another WVS project, the dog shelter at WVS Thailand, gave Rasha the experience needed to handle hyper dogs and recognize the best way to communicate with shy dogs. By learning how to sit with them and play with them differently, Rasha has been able to put this knowledge to good use back home. “We see the same issue in Egypt with the abandoned and rescued dogs. You have to observe the dogs to understand them and know how to interact with them.”
“What I learned in a few weeks in Ooty, would take years to learn in Egypt. I know I can do more. It tested my strengths and my skills and now I know I can go home and do so much more!” Rasha has been volunteering at animal shelters back in Cairo since 2012, and has put the skills she learnt on our course into practice for animals in need in Egypt. Birth control and sterilization is one of the best solutions for promoting animal welfare and population control and so in 2014, she took her new skills and developed a trap-neuter-release programme in her local neighbourhood, with support of her community. She has now sterilised 5,000 cats and 1,000 dogs, showing that these transferable skills in veterinary training really can have an impact worldwide.
Volunteering once again with WVS, Rasha furthered her skills on our project in Goa. “Goa was a fantastically rewarding experience, and I was so eager to practice what I learned in Ooty. The project made me even more determined to turn my Cairo sterilization initiative into an NGO – we know we can do more and now I know how to achieve it thanks to WVS! It really changed my perspective and showed me that good is not good enough, we can always do more and strive for perfection!”
As we now move into 2018, Rasha has big plans to help the animals in her local community, inspired by her experiences on WVS projects. She aims to expand the TNR programme in her area to reach 75% of cats and dogs, and create a better generation of animal welfare champions. “I want the NGO to help even more animals and put what I learned with WVS into practice back home.”
It is thanks to volunteers like Rasha, that we can help improve animal welfare across the globe, through sustainable initiatives, sterilization projects and improving the veterinary skills of these incredible people that are supporting animals that need it most.