How it all started
Thank you for wishing to know more about our work helping horses and donkeys in Israel and Palestine and how I started it all 11 years ago.
I first visited Israel in 1989, when I was 19 to work for the Jerusalem Society for the Protection of Animals. It was whilst working there that I first encountered the terrible cruelty inflicted on working animals throughout Israel and Palestine and the incredibly harsh lives they lead day after day.
One encounter with a badly wounded animal, who I named Donk, resulted in my purchasing him from his Bedouin owners and transporting him back to England to spend the rest of his life happily and peacefully at a sanctuary in Cambridgeshire.
By then I was working as Senior Cabin Crew with British Airways but I realised that I had to return to Israel as I was driven by the desire to help, as much as I could on my own, the donkeys I had seen working and living in such miserable conditions.
The search for land to start my sanctuary in Israel was not easy but eventually I found a small barn and field to rent on a kibbutz called Gezer.
In March 2001 I rescued my first donkey! It seemed that once this first donkey had come to my little haven others soon followed and by May 2001 I had already had taken in my first ten donkeys! I am happy to tell you that eight of those ten are still with me today.
I really had no idea back then that I was starting out on a journey which would make Safe Haven for Donkeys, my charity, the home it is today to over 160 resident donkeys, 4 horses and 2 mules. We have also run a mobile clinic and training courses in Palestine for local farriers as well as education programmes. Last year we opened our first permanent clinic in the Palestinian town of Qalqilya.
Rescuing animals who are destined to die of starvation after being abandoned on busy roads or who are too ill or old to work anymore is only a part of my work – my long-term aim is to change attitudes through education and care, teaching that love and respect for your animal will bring rewards all round as many families rely on their donkey as their only form of transport for earning a living to put food on the table.
My work has been made possible by the wonderful support I have received from people in the UK and all around the world and this loyal and generous support has been very humbling and a constant source of strength and inspiration to me over the years when the going got tough and my courage and determination were in danger of failing and I will be forever grateful for that.
I do hope that you might consider supporting Safe Haven and joining me on my journey, we have great plans to reach out to even more little donkeys who desperately need us this coming year and can only do it with your help.
Founder & Field Director
Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land