Khayelitsha based animal welfare organisation SA.MAST has launched a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to raise R500 000 to equip a newly built animal hospital in that area. Established in 2006, SA.MAST has sterilised more than 9 000 cats and dogs under their mass sterilisation programme, administered tens of thousands of primary care treatments and ensured over 3 000 general and emergency treatments and hospitalisations over that timeframe.
“A few years ago I came across a dog who I called Nameless. It was one of the most tragic days of my life, right there in full view of everybody, this dog died in my arms. What I realised is that there are tens of thousands of others dogs just like him in Khayelitsha. I decided then and there that something needed to be done about this; this was the beginning of SA.MAST’s story,” Founder and Director of SA.MAST, Tamsin Nel recalls.
“For many many years Khayelitsha has been dramatically underserviced, which in turn has caused the animal population to explode; the resulting overpopulation epidemic in the area has had a devastating effect on the animals and the community living there,” Nel said.
An animal hospital in the area means that 80 to 90 sterilisations can take place every week; “the enormity of this cannot be understated; it has far reaching positive consequences for animals and the pet guardians alike. For example fewer people will become infected with zoonotic conditions such as worms or scabies,” Nel said.
SA.MAST is currently the only organisation in Khayelitsha that has a concrete plan to achieve an 80 to 90% sterilisation rate of animals in that area over the next two years. A fully equipped animal hospital in Khayelitsha will go a long way towards treating the estimated number of 50 000 to 100 000 cats and dogs currently living there.
The hospital structure, which has been made out of seven converted shipping containers to form a single structure, has up until this point been entirely self-funded and has relied on the support of individuals and corporate donors such as Meridian Shipping and Anthony Richards and Associates.
“The support, time, energy and effort put into the hospital cannot be underemphasised – our small team at SA.MAST has turned one person’s crazy idea into a reality. Our dream and vision to establish a fully equipped animal hospital in Khayelitsha is almost real – we have one more milestone to reach and invite members of the public to help us with funds to equip the hospital with medical supplies and equipment.”
Over and above the sterilisation of animals, funds raised through the campaign will ensure that the hospital is equipped to deal with serious injuries, opportunistic dog attacks from fighting breeds, as well as the diagnosis of potentially terminal diseases.
Hosted on crowd funding site Thundafund, members of the public can offer varying levels of support; “A whole lot of small contributions add up,” Nel said. “To get a real sense of the day-to-day reality of life in Khayelitsha visit our website, watch the video we created and support our campaign. We encourage you to share our story and join our drive to reach the R500 000 mark – all support is most welcome and encouraged.”