Hero in my Hood applied for an Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grant to supplement the humane education programs of four organizations. In the end, Hero in my Hood distributed 3,150 books to six organizations!
With the grant from AKI, Hero in my Hood printed and distributed "Lucky," a story activity book aimed at children six years and over, that teaches about how to take care of a dog. They also produced a new product under the grant, “Baby Lucky," a coloring book for younger children. The same messages about pet care are included in the coloring book.
The six organizations that received books, thanks to the AKI grant, are:
Edu Paw, the education branch of the SPCA in Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal received 150 Lucky and 150 coloring-in books, both in isiZulu.
Edu Paw runs a program in which children and their dogs enroll for a 2 month period (6 photos below). The program includes theory and a practical component. At the end of the course, each child gets a certificate as well as some other gifts for themselves and their dogs.
Funda Nenja, also in KwaZulu-Natal, received 350 Lucky and 350 coloring-in books, both in isiZulu.
Funda Nenja runs dog training courses for children in the community – also theory and practical (4 photos below). In South Africa, Funda Nenja is considered the very best at children's education. They have had phenomenal success in bringing down the crime rate in their area by developing empathy in the community through their work with children and their dogs. The children who take Funda Nenja classes bring their lessons home, transferring what they've learned to the whole family and the community in general.
Animal Lifeline received 1000 books: 650 Lucky (200 in English, 300 in Afrikaans, and 100 in isiXhosa) and 350 coloring-in books (100 in English, 150 in Afrikaans, and 100 in isiXhosa).
Animal Lifeline joins forces with many other organizations around the Western Cape. Hero in my Hood agreed that 1000 books should go to areas where the kids are eager to learn, have very little access to materials, and where the organizations are more likely to use the books as teaching tools rather than simply as handouts.
The bulk of the books have gone to the rural outreach area, Redelinghuys. Around 200 books went to The Butterfly Effect which facilitates outreach in the Overberg area. Books also went to HELP (Homework Enrichment Lifeskills Programme), a supplemental service for schools in lower income areas in Southern Suburbs of Cape Town.
Photos below: Animal Lifeline's TNR volunteer coordinator involves the children in the community when doing a TNR exercise. The children also receive Hero in my Hood books.
Sidewalk Specials received 1000 coloring-in books, 800 in Afrikaans, 100 in English, and 100 in isiXhosa.
Sidewalk Specials runs steri-drives and hands the books out to owners while they wait for their animals to be sterilized or sometimes they'll include the books in a goodie bag given to owners when their animals are returned to them after spay/neuter surgery (3 photos below).
SPCA in Zimbabwe received 50 books. The SPCA saw Hero in my Hood's Pit Bull brochure and requested those for their outreach and mentioned that they desperately needed educational materials. Hero in my Hood had some books left over and sent the SPCA 50.
HelpaPawSA in Faure/Macassar (Cape Town) received the remaining 100 books. HelpaPawSA approached Hero in my Hood shortly after they received the AKI grant. Since there were still some books left over from the ones printed with the AKI grant funds, Hero in my Hood sent the remaining books to HelpaPawSA. They were so happy to get the books to use in combination with their steri-drives.
The AKI grant to Hero in my Hood translates to 3150 children who will learn at least one or two things about looking after a dog/pet. Children take what they learn home and teach other family members as well. The animals in the communities where these children live will benefit from the learning. When a number of children in a community are educated together, they tend to be a kind of watch-dog over each other, reminding each other about what they've learned.
Hero in my Hood told us that "the grant was a great emotional boost to us. Local organizations not already using our material looked more closely at our work as it was now ‘internationally recognized’. South Africans often think that only imported things are of quality, so suddenly we were seen in a new light."
Hero in my Hood also told us about something they learned from the grant project. "We have seen a need for short training videos that discuss the pages in the books – often organisations use our work as a handout and leave it to the recipient of the book to glean whatever info they can from it. With guidance from a teacher/short video, more lessons can be learned. We would like to be able to give more guidance to a facilitator/educator when using the books – how to discuss topics that arise in the books."
They also mentioned their plans for the future. "We will continue producing our learning materials. We will continue to get them translated into new languages and get them to people in need of education. Going forward we will continue with our humane education but we also want to put effort into books about empathy. If we can get more children to identify their own feelings, we can get them to be empathetic to others and to animals. Kindness is Cool."
We also heard from the recipient organizations, all of whom were very excited to get and use Hero in my Hood's beautiful Humane Ed material.
"*Christmas Came Early* It certainly feels like Christmas morning ... opening boxes of Activity and Colouring books which arrived from Cape Town via courier today. Hero in my Hood received a grant from Animal-Kind International for educational material and we were so privileged and excited to hear that Edu Paw would be one of the recipients. We have been using the Activity Books for some time now and are thrilled to receive and see these amazing colouring books for the first time. Every page contains a lesson in proper Canine Care. Thank you Hero in my Hood story activity books and Animal-Kind International We are so grateful. The kids enjoy the fun activities and will benefit further as we take them on a learning journey through these beautifully illustrated colouring books."
"A while ago we were thrilled to learn that we were the lucky recipient of a grant from Animal-Kind International through Hero in my Hood story activity books from whom we have sourced much of our educational material over the years. The grant supplied us with dozens and dozens of canine welfare activity booklets which enables us to reach even more children and teach them about the five freedoms of animal welfare."
"During the first month that learners enter the dog school program they are given a lesson by our Animal Welfare Education Officer. Nomonde covers the 5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare so that the youngsters understand how to properly care for their dogs. This important information is beautifully presented in the booklet published by Hero in my Hood story activity books and thanks to a generous grant by Animal-Kind International, each of our learners gets to take one home to share the message with their families.
Together we make a difference."
"The bulk of our books will be distributed in our current rural outreach area, Redelinghuys. The team goes up once a month and usually in conjunction with a sterie event and/or TNR (Trap Neuter Return) expedition."
"We're going to hold back 25 to issue when we distribute Santa Cause for Paws gifts to our outreach beneficiaries and also plan to share a few with HELP (Homework Enrichment Lifeskills Programme) - I was their social worker for a few years and still keep my hand in.”
Although it's not easy to calculate the actual impact of education, including humane ed, Hero in my Hood's books have been in extensive use and demand since 2017 and the lives of children and animals have been affected by the content. Hero in my Hood knows this because they hear it directly from the young people who have received their books. Once a child is educated, they are educated for life so the hope is that all animals that they care for during their lifetime, will be well cared for.
Just a sample of some of the beautiful learning material created by Hero in my Hood:
Single page pull-outs: Baby Lucky