|Despite being called the Gambia Horse and
Donkey Trust, we care just as much about people as we do their animals. The Gambia is a
very poor country and many people living there are living in extreme poverty. The majority
of animal welfare problems that we see are a result of a lack of education and
understanding, rather than outright cruelty. The people rely on their animals for their
own survival so it makes sense for them to do everything they can to keep their animals
Whilst we do provide veterinary treatments
for animals in need, we also provide training for local people so that they can support
their own communities with professional skills. We have provided training opportunities
for farriers, harness makers, para-vets, livestock assistants and blacksmiths, enabling
them to provide essential services to their local community whilst also earning an income
But our commitment to the local community stretches even
further than this and the GHDT has assisted with numerous other projects to improve life
for the local community.
|THE DONKEY PROJECT
The GHDT have provided 147 donkeys to needy families who were unable to afford to
purchase their own donkey. The donkey recipients attend an intensive training course at
the GHDT centre where they are educated about how to appropriately care for and handle a
donkey. The recipient must provide a house for the donkey to shelter in before their
donkey is allocated to them.
The donkeys are provided on loan to the families in need,
and the project manager travels to visit all of the donkeys every month to ensure they are
being properly taken care of, and to provide veterinary treatment if required.
Calum's Road is a 7.5km stretch of road between the village
where the GHDT centre is based and the riverside where there is a boat crossing to reach
the local town, market, schools and hospitals. It is also the route to the local rice
fields, and all the local people including women and children have to use this road on a
daily basis. For many months of the year this road became totally water logged and was
impassable for any vehicles. The local people still needed to use the road, so would be
seen removing their clothes and carrying them on their heads to keep them dry, whilst they
waded through deep water.
|Numerous injuries were caused to
donkeys and horses pulling carts because it was impossible for their drivers to see
whether there were any potholes beneath the water, and people would often delay hospital
trips until it was too late for fear of making the treacherous journey.
Before Stella Marsden sadly passed away she
asked her sister Heather Armstrong to promise that she would raise the funds to rebuild
the road, to make the route safer for both people and animals.
Despite the enormity of the task Heather put a great deal
of effort into honouring the promise that she made to Stella, and after much blood, sweat
and tears the road was finally completed in 2010. Please visit our 'Calum's Road News Report' page for
more information about the building of Calum's Road.
To view more pictures showing Calum's Road
please click here.
OTHER COMMUNITY PROJECTS
The GHDT has supported a number of other community
development projects including:
- Community vegetable gardens
- Provision of solar powered bore holes for 7 surrounding
villages to enable the local community to access clean drinking water
- Business support for local women to encourage them to
develop additional income through the manufacture and sale of beaded jewellery
- Skills centre for local women to learn how to make soap, tie
dyed materials and other saleable goods
- Planting of aloe vera plants to use for medicinal purposes
- Provision of a donkey cart to transport Nursery School
children to and from school
- Provision and distribution of reflective garments for horse
and donkey cart owners to reduce the number of road traffic incidents