AKI Partner Organization-Sauvons nos Animaux
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.
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 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 160 dogs and 40 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 Youth 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.
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.
Pictures to the right show the two Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grants that SnA received: In 2021 SnA received an AKI grant to hire a vet and a vet assistant to spay and neuter all shelter pets and to provide other needed vet care.
After the 1st couple of months, surgeries were stopped because there was a "famine" at the shelter.
Donations were down, prices were up, SnA was having trouble raising the money they needed to buy food to feed the dogs and cats. AKI donors and others came to their rescue and raised money for cat and dog food so the shelter animals could regain their strength and surgeries could continue.
In 2020, with the grant from AKI, SnA built a quarantine facility and a dog pen to house about 25 dogs at the shelter.