Thursday, January 22, 2015

Seeding Compassion

Vasanthi Kumar and two children benefitting from "Compassionate Children".
Vasanthi Kumar grew up in Bangalore and now lives in New Delhi, India. In 2002 she became a co-founder of STRAY RELIEF AND ANIMAL WELFARE (STRAW), that works to improve how animals are treated and viewed, particularly strays. The group has certification by the ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA, and is located in New Delhi.

As most animal shelters in the US do, STRAW has a sizable spay-neuter program, which helps to reduce the population of companion animals and allows them to live healthier lives. Not to mention, the savings to the community because there are fewer animals.

A major focus of STRAW is education, particularly of youth. To that end, Vasanthi and STRAW are developing a curriculum-friendly humane education program, called "Compassionate Classrooms". For those in the primary grades, the program provides movies and also interactive activities. When children become older, the program teaches first aid for injured animals and how to handle instances of cruel behavior towards animals. They plan to introduce this curriculum to all 35 educational boards throughout India, reaching approximately 10,000 schools.

One of the biggest functions of shelters is to rehome animals. In publicizing that they encourage rehoming of pets, abandonment of those pets is decreased, and the previous owners are assured that their pet can be placed in another loving home. STRAW helps to find an appropriate shelter program that will welcome the pet and facilitate adoption. That decreases the number of stray animals in the city.

STRAW raises funds for its operations through corporate sponsorships, individual donations, government funding, and international grants, particularly in the area of animal welfare. Some of the funds are used for their programs; the rest are distributed to other local animal welfare groups. They truly are an organization that seeds a new way of treating animals. Most importantly, they are reaching out to the youth of India and bringing compassionate thinking to as many school children as possible.

A bee colony in a buddha tree in Vasanthi's backyard.
Thanks to this Pollination Project article:, and information from the above links.

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