Lalitpur, March 2016- If you were a donkey, what would you prefer in your breakfast? To this question, Mohammat Ali, a child donkey handler at New Bhairab Brick factory answered smilingly, “Chai aur Paratha! (Tea and a bread)”. Similary, Jalau, the donkey owner wished to have sugar, green maize and barn for the breakfast. However, the situation got bit more sensitized when AN, Director Uttam Kaphle questioned them again, “So have you been giving all these delicious and nutritious food to your donkey?”
Animal Nepal this brick season aims to cover all of the brick factories in Lalitpur where we will be conducting basic treatments like vaccinations and deworming including a donkey handler workshop with the aim of improving the overall condition of working equines. During this brick season we found maximum number of wounds and sickness in the equines of New Bhairab Brick Factory and we definitely needed a strong programme for some change. Hence, this month we conducted a donkey handler workshop in New Bhairab where the handlers were taught basic do’s and dont’s of donkey handling. Besides, the workshop turned out to be really fun and productive with some enthusiastic and interactive donkey handlers.
There were various sessions targeted specially for the child handlers where they were shown cartoon films of donkeys and were engaged in other fun activities like drawing and paintings. Hands that never held a pen were drawing pictures of flowers, donkeys and houses. We were amazed to see such a curiosity and enthusiasm in the kids. The child handlers were also gifted pencils, colors, drawing papers, footballs to keep them engaged in creative activities. Plus they were made to empathize for their animals with a very simple but effective session “We all are donkeys” which just worked right as we witnessed a huge behavior change in the donkey handlers at the end of our workshop.
Animal Nepal will be conducting more of such programmes in the future as we believe that educating the owners and donkey handlers is the only way to create a permanent difference in the lives of working equines in the brick factories.