Sunday, May 9, 2010

Transform a horse's life for just £20

If anyone contacts us to ask for a free draw or raffle prize we almost always say 'yes' because although giving away a hamper of food costs us between £50 and £75 in real terms, it is easier to justify than cash and will - hopefully - help to raise an even larger sum. So far this year I think we have given away about 20 such hampers - all to deserving canine causes. With one exception. We've just agreed to donate one to something called the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust. As its name suggests this small but highly effective charity was: 'established to reduce rural poverty in Gambia by increasing productivity of working horses and donkeys through animal welfare and management education.' Gambia is, of course, one of the smallest and poorest countries in Africa.

The horse and donkey population has never been accurately measured, but the best estimate is 25,000 to 40,000. It won't surprise you to learn that they suffer appalling treatment and conditions, by and large because their carers have never been trained in equine management. Although, having said this, it must also be pointed out that there is a terrible shortage of food (leading to malnutrition and disease) and equipment.

The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust has been making steady progress in its fight to improve the lives of these unfortunate creatures. One of the things I like about the charity is that it can do so much with so little. I've just sponsored two horses for a whole year. Not as generous as it sounds, I am afraid. The cost? Just £20 each.

I know money is too tight to mention at the moment, but if you can spare anything at all I am sure that the Trust will make good use of it.