Having just finished Week 2 volunteering at Animal Aid Unlimited in Udaipur, Rajasthan (India) I am completely in awe of the incredible staff that runs this amazing hospital and sanctuary. Though the ENTIRE staff should (and will) be recognized for their beautiful work, the women of Animal Aid are this week’s Girls Who Are Changing The World.
Erika Abrams founded Animal Aid with her husband Jim about 15 years ago. They moved to a small village close to Udaipur from Seattle to create a haven for the un-owned street animals of India. Though neither of them had veterinary experience, they had a love of animals and a passion to help them. Along with their daughter Claire, they settled here and haven’t looked back.
“As they deepened roots and their understanding of how things work here, they learned that in most cities in India there are no hospitals or shelters for un-owned animals. The government veterinary facilities are aimed toward milk production and animal farming.”
Claire spoke fairly good Hindi by the time she was 10 and has been an ambassador for animals in schools throughout the area. She began doing slideshows at the age of 15, giving presentations to inform kids what Animal Aid does and why their work is so important. She also conducts vegan outreach activities in the community. I like to watch her with the animals. She gives unconditional love to every one.
Trudy is the Volunteer Coordinator. She’s basically my boss and one of the coolest chicks you will ever meet! She gives tours to visiting groups and assigns the volunteers their jobs. She knows the place inside and out. She also has a huge passion for animals like I have never seen. It is a pleasure to get to work with her every day!
Then there is the female staff of Animal Aid: Radha, Dhapu, Manju & Kamla. Each of them has their specialty. Radha and Dhapu are in charge of pups. I’m positive that the puppies think Dhapu is their momma the way they follow her around and cry when she leaves their sight for a second! Manju is the woman in charge of cleaning and let me tell you with the 100+ animals at the hospital, it’s a NON-STOP job!
Then there is Kamla who is probably my favorite person in the world! You only have to be in her presence for a minute before you know that she is someone extraordinary. Kamla’s main job is physical therapy and massage for the handicapped dogs. She has gotten many of the paralyzed dogs gain more mobility with her healing ways. Not only that, but there are at least 2 dogs that have made a full recovery thanks to her. She is magical. And probably one of the most joyous people you will ever meet!
Last but not least, there are the female volunteers of Animal Aid. In my 2 weeks, there have been quite a few people who have come through to spend time helping the hospital. 99% of them girls! Some come for a day or 2 and some come for weeks/months at a time. Julie O’Neill has been coming to Animal Aid for 6 years. The first time she came, she only planned on a week and stayed for a year! Since then she’s been coming for several months at a time, living in a nearby village and spending every day working at the hospital. Her dedication to helping the world is inspiring! Julie definitely deserves her own GCTW post one day highlighting her amazing adventures in volunteering all over the world!
All the women of Animal Aid go above and beyond to help animals in need on a daily basis. I am completely honored to get to be in their divine presence every day. Thank you all so much for inspiring me and making me a better person!
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**If you know a super rad girl that you would like to nominate for our ‘Girls Who Are Changing the World’ feature, send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org