With International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day taking place within the same week, the Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary is acknowledging the work of a Kenyan business woman in improving welfare conditions for her donkey and her family.
The overseas harness development team of The Donkey Sanctuary in Devon recently met an inspirational young woman who has found that hard work and good donkey care can bring great rewards.
Ruth is a mother of three who has been responsible for supporting her family since her husband became unable to work. With limited opportunities for work in her home town of Kiserian, near Nairobi, Ruth decided to set up a business transporting water throughout the local area. Water is one of the heaviest and most difficult of cargos for an animal to transport and Ruth soon noticed that her donkey had developed sore wounds where the locally made harness was causing serious irritations.
As a responsible donkey owner, Ruth sought help from the Sanctuary’s mobile team who introduced her to a new style of rope harness that allowed the wounds to heal and ensured that no more wounds developed.
She explained to Donkey Sanctuary harness development officer Chris Garrett: “We have local vets, and I would be happy to pay for their services, but they don’t really know very much about donkeys, they need training. Until I found The Donkey Sanctuary there was no one to help us, we could see that our donkeys were suffering but did not know how to change the situation. Now I know that there is someone who takes me seriously and will do their best to help.”
With her delivery business running well, Ruth decided to help other donkey owners and, after attending a Sanctuary-run harness making course, set up an additional business making donkey-friendly harnesses for local working donkeys and is also volunteering her own time to spread the message about the importance of good donkey care.
Ruth says: “My donkey works so hard to help me look after my family and I want to do right by him and keep him strong and healthy.”
Ruth is one of many women who work with The Donkey Sanctuary’s overseas teams to balance the demands of their working environments with donkey welfare. For more information about the overseas work of The Donkey Sanctuary, visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk