In India, poverty is widespread, and people find it difficult to care for humans, leave alone animals. Where the entire economic survival of a family depends on a donkey, the donkey owners do not think twice to extract the last ounce of work for their monetary benefits. However, these animals have found an understanding heart in Jean and Bob Harrison.
Two retirees from the United Kingdom, Jean, and Bob Harrison have a soft spot for Delhi’s donkeys. They have started ‘The Asswin Project for Donkeys in India’. It is a charity based in UK.
There are around 3,000 donkeys labouring in the city’s building sites. Laden down with bricks and sandbags, many are worked until they die. “The only time a donkey will ever give up, is when it can’t do any more and it lies down,” explained Jean. “And you know then – that’s it.”
Jean and Bob have moved to India to work on their mission of bringing medical care to the donkeys. With the help of a local veterinarian, Dr. Bibender, they spend their days ‘scouring building sites for animals in need of urgent care.’ They have converted a donated van into a ‘donkey ambulance.’
Neither the administration team in the UK nor the team working in the field in India receive any salary. The team in India, Jean and Bob Harrison, work every day of every week, and visit numerous construction sites, brick kilns, and encampments to give treatment and care to suffering equines and to endeavour to educate owners and their families in methods of how to care for their animals.
But the economic realities of Delhi’s slums make for some heartbreaking decisions. The donkeys are valuable assets for the men who own them, and many are unwilling to allow them to be taken away for treatment, even when it is urgently needed.
Though all the donkeys cannot see any ease in their burden and struggles, it is heartwarming to see the donkeys experience love and care by their human friends. You can visit The Ass Win Project website for more details.