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Kathmandu: Brick kilns in the city

Only just over an hour's flight from Delhi, but we are a world away from India and now in Nepal. City streets in Kathmandu seem busy but nowhere near as crowded as Delhi. It is of course a much smaller place, but that's not why the traffic is less. For reasons too complex to discuss here there is very little fuel available, and queues of people miles long stretch from the petrol stations, waiting for hours with jerry cans in the cold chill of morning. Houses are also cold (at 7am as I write it is 2oC) until the sun rises, so people and animals alike suffer. With this and last year's earthquake, the tourist trade on which the country so depends has vanished. We read about Nepalis being so resilient, and this is very true, but with all the resilience in the world, the situation here and long-term prospects are not good.

A donkey stands amidst bricks and a pile of coal at the Bungamati brick kiln site in Kathmandu

More brick kilns, an ancient city and a Sanctuary

Along with Donkey Sanctuary India and UK senior personnel, I flew from Delhi to Ahmedabad to look at Donkey Sanctuary India work there, and our first morning was once again in the mist and dust of one of the many brick kilns. We had to get to the kilns by 10am because the donkeys and their owners were just finishing for the day, having worked since 2am to take advantage of the relative cool of early morning. It was also practical for us to arrive at that time because we could still see some of the work as they were finishing off, and could then talk to the people as they ate their main meal of the day and fed and watered their animals.

Christine Purdy with recovering donkeys at The Donkey Sanctuary India’s Ahmedabad sanctuary

Building on the backs of donkeys

Christine Purdy, a Trustee of The Donkey Sanctuary, is on a 12-day tour of our projects in India and Nepal with Julia Smith and Natasha Chamberlain of the International Department. In her first blog from the field, she writes about the people and donkeys that work in a brick kiln in the Rajakhera area of Rajasthan.

Christine Purdy, a Trustee of The Donkey Sanctuary, and Donkey Sanctuary India's Head of Program Milan Dinda (left), with brick-kiln owner Virendar in Rajakhera

All hop aboard the Peace Donkey Express

For a few weeks late last year, a palpable buzz descended on the streets of Victoria, on the island of Gozo in Malta. Children on their way home from school and old people out running errands or taking a stroll would converge outside the open studio of artists Emma Victoria Morgan and Abi MacLeod Clark, fascinated by the duo’s latest project and eager to strike up a conversation about donkeys, art and their role as messengers of peace.

Peace Donkey

Working towards developing a pan-African animal welfare platform

The Donkey Sanctuary co-sponsored the first Continental Consultative Stakeholders Conference on Animal Welfare in Africa at the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) in Nairobi, Kenya from 30 November to 1 December 2015. The meeting brought together African representatives of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and various NGOs to start the process of developing an African Platform for Animal Welfare. Currently, Africa is the only continent without an OIE Collaborating Centre on Animal Welfare.

AU-IBAR meeting

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