Harness Maker, Farid Shawky, works at the Egyptian Society for the Protection and Welfare of Working Animals (ESPWWA) who are our major partners in Egypt. He has written and documented this story of change in southern Egypt. Well done to the ESPWWA team in making such a big change to the lives of donkeys.
Here is Farid's story...
One of the areas ESPWWA work in Aswan governate, a popular tourist destination in Upper Egypt. In the summer it is very hot and in the winter it is moderate. There are 75,000 donkeys in Aswan. In urban areas they are used as draught animals and a small number in tourism. In the countryside donkeys are used as pack animals transporting goods and ploughing fields among other tasks. Donkeys in Aswan play a very important role in people’s lives.
When one of our visits to Aswan to see donkeys at work, I was surprised when one donkey owner came to me and asked “do you remember me? I’m Karam the owner of the donkey you made a simple saddle for with my old blanket. My donkey was suffering from a big wound on his back.” He pointed to the donkey at his side and added: “This is the donkey. When I saw what you did I made two more saddles for my other donkeys in the way you showed us to protect them from injury.” I was very happy when I saw the donkey with the healed wounds.
Karam had been using a saddle that caused a deep wound on the donkey’s back. He’d made the saddle himself out of a plastic bag stuffed with wool. A proper one would have cost him up to 530 Egyptian Pounds (over £15). We made a new one with an old blanket wide enough to allow room for the spine and distribution of the load on the donkey’s back. I was so happy to see the impact of my training. I am very proud to have helped this poor donkey and his owner.