“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi.
As part of their vision to realize a society where humans and animals can coexist peacefully, without the threats of cruelty and exploitation, PAWS (Protecting Animal Welfare Society) Kuwait performs awareness events and presentations at various private schools throughout Kuwait. However, a respectable invitation to ‘I LOVE ANIMALS’ Day in Al-Asma’a Bint Al-Hareth Secondary School for girls in Nuzha, beckoned the organization to embark on a first in raising awareness at a public educational institution. When a shared vision is present to increase the numbers of ethically responsible people to live with a deeper sense of purpose, then true change does come about.
An exhibition and event that is also the first of its kind at the school, ‘I LOVE ANIMALS’ Day showcased the issues of animal welfare, treatment and cruelty via its amazingly creative youth. Each class assembled a booth filled with informative brochures, and handmade gifts, while the students presented their work to visitors in an effort to raise awareness about animal welfare in Kuwait. Taking place in the school auditorium, attendees included parents, students and invited visitors.
Teacher and Head of the English Language Department, Mrs. Irina Al Jamili, who organised this event with support from the English Language Department and fellow students, was the first to open the event with her uplifting speech. This was followed by an astounding presentation by Fatma Al Askar, a senior student at Al-Asma’a Bint Al-Hareth Secondary School, where she wisely wove religious standpoints concerning animal cruelty and treatment, impressively demonstrating the findings of a student survey conducted at the school. According to the study: 93% of the students believe that a state-run animal shelter should exist in Kuwait; 97% agree that animals should have rights; 91% agree that people who abuse animals should be punished; 91% say pet owners should be educated about animals; and 96% agree animals shouldn’t be tied up or confined. Upon presenting these findings, Fatma concluded with this heartfelt statement, “Please don’t walk out the door and forget about this subject. You should educate those around you. We need the next generation to grow up to be kind and compassionate towards animals. If you witness animal abuse, don’t keep quiet. Report it to the police, take pictures, try to talk to the person committing the abuse and get them to stop. Please protect animals, they bring joy to our hearts.”
PAWS Chairperson Manuela Tague then followed with a presentation which referred to the mission, vision and constant efforts of PAWS Kuwait. She also mentioned that besides the need to ensure the basic needs of a pet in a home environment, that the unsatisfying conditions for animals in general in Kuwait, domesticated, stray and wild, are of an abhorrent nature. Examples seen daily include the lack of regulation/monitoring at the Friday market, dogfights, and animal abandonment and cruelty, where she pointed out that the future of animal treatment is lying in the hands of this next educated generation. She deeply believes that this event was a big step forward in the correct direction, to establish animal rights laws in Kuwait, stating, “When I entered your school today, I was overwhelmed by what you have done.” Following Manuela Tague’s speech, Dr Tariq Al Tawari, a professor at Kuwait University, went on to talk about how important it is to treat animals kindly, as per Islamic teachings.
For PAWS Kuwait, the event marked a milestone for the organization that strives to provide assistance and rescue to homeless, neglected and abandoned animals, as well as veterinary care and adoption, for stray, wild and domestic animals in Kuwait, in partnership with their rescuers. They were also overwhelmed that the wonderful students went above and beyond what they were expecting, to organize food and equipment donations for PAWS. Many students even went on to apply for volunteering at the organization’s shelter. The event truly reflected an invigorating attitude towards positive change, echoed by Ms Bedour Al Moqaseeb, an English language teacher at the school, in her closing speech, “when you focus on the good in your life, the goodness will spread.”
For more information on animal welfare and how you can support email: [email protected].