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AKI Partner Organization-Sauvons nos Animaux, Congo

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AKI's Partnership with Sauvons nos Animaux

Sauvons nos Animaux is our newest Partner Organization, added as of January 1, 2022! After receiving an AKI Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grant in 2020 and a 2nd one in 2021, we decided to add SnA as a Partner.

It's really difficult to rescue cats and dogs and to run an animal shelter in eastern DRC: the region is very poor, it's beset with conflicts, and natural disasters (earthquakes, flooding) are common. But Paterne Bushunju, founder & director of SnA (photo right at the SnA shelter), is determined to make sure "his" cats and dogs receive the level of care they would get if they were someone's pets. And we hope to help him achieve that.

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You may be surprised how expensive it is to run an animal shelter in the DRC --and run it right. At the current population level at the shelter (about 45 dogs and 20 cats plus kittens and puppies-about 75 animals total), it costs about $750/month for dog food and $70/month for cat food for a total of US$9840/year.


To help Paterne purchase food, we've created the Shirlee Christensen Memorial Pet Food Fund for Sauvons nos Animaux cats and dogs. Shirlee was an animal advocate her entire life, and according to her daughter, she would be honored to have created this Fund as her legacy.


The shelter employs 5 animal caretakers, one vet, and one night security guard for a total of $10,200/year. Water and electricity is $32/month, $384/year. Shelter supplies, about $300/year. And vet supplies, it depends, but they're not cheap and can be as high as $3000/year. That's a lot of money to raise for animal care anywhere, but it's especially difficult to raise that kind of money in eastern DRC!


And we haven't even included maintenance of shelter infrastructure, which is also costly given the damage caused by floods, mudslides, termites, heavy rains and boiling sun.

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Map: The Sauvons nos Animaux shelter is in Bukavu, in South Kivu Province in the eastern DRC. The DRC is about 1/4 the size of the US. It is the 2nd poorest country in the world.

Read about Paterne Bushunju, in Bark magazine.

More about Paterne.......


As a young boy, Paterne started rescuing dogs from the dangerous streets of Bukavu. Unlike most of the people he knew, something drew him to the dogs and their plight and he felt the need to protect them and keep them safe.

At 1st, Paterne placed his rescued dogs at an abandoned church next to where he lived. At this point in his animal rescue career, Paterne knew very little about the world of animal rescue, protection, and sheltering. He began researching the topic online. That's where Paterne met Giancarlo Barbadoro, director of Ecospirituality Foundation in Europe.


They discussed how pets are treated in Europe and how pets are treated in the DRC. They discussed animal care and welfare. Giancarlo decided he wanted to help Paterne in his rescue work. He sent a donation that allowed Paterne to rent a small house where he could safely keep the dogs he took from the street.


In 2014, Paterne started Sauvons nos Animaux. With Giancarlo's ongoing support and Paterne's growing number of supporters on social media, in 2016, Paterne was able to buy a large plot of land and create a shelter for cats and dogs, the 1st and only one in Bukavu, and in eastern DRC, and perhaps in all of DRC. 

The SnA shelter now has about 45 dogs and 30 cats. Paterne recruits volunteers from the community to help out by building structures at the shelter, cooking cat and dog food, and spending time with the animals. He especially focuses on the local kids and has created a Kids Club, since as we know, the only way the situation for cats and dogs will improve is to educate the youth to be kind, to care for animals, and to provide hands-on opportunities to learn about the joys of cats and dogs.

Although trained as an Environmental Engineer, Paterne has decided to dedicate his life to rescuing the animals of South Kivu and raising awareness among communities of their responsibilities towards them.

Sadly, in 2019 Giancarlo died, but he lived to see the SnA shelter become a reality.

Click on a picture for more information:

Where Did Your Donations Go?

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Sauvons nos Animaux Updates from the AKI Blog

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