Before working with animals, Faustina spent over-24 years in education, in the U.S. “I worked with inner- city youths for many years and really appreciated how individuals tried to work on themselves in America, to become better human beings. There is a great deal of interest in self-growth there and wonderful support groups for individuals struggling with some aspect of their lives.” She continues, “for the last nine years, I have been actively involved in animal welfare. At present, I am the Managing Director of DARG where we care for approximately 230 animals. My passion for helping others has moved from education into working with animals although neither can ever be mutually exclusive.”
What are some of the challenges DARG faces?
One of DARG’s biggest challenges is funding as they receive no assistance from the government. “We are inundated with sick and/or injured animals from both informal settlements, Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg, which puts a lot of strain on our facility financially and with the daily running of DARG.” Many owners also surrender their animals, and DARG only has so many kennels and cat rooms to assist.
How do you overcome these challenges?
While DARG might not have the capacity to house the animals in need of help, they still try their best to accommodate what they can. “We focus on sterilisation initiatives to decrease the number of unwanted animals in both low-income areas. We also rely on our local vets to assist by offering us charity rates for treatments.” In addition, DARG constantly posts about their animals on social media to promote them, as well as connects with organisations which can help to get them adopted.
How is DARG making a difference?
“We are actively sterilising animals in low-income areas and trying to educate pet owners and young children on a daily basis.” DARG is also a safe-haven for dogs and cats that have been rescued.
Any words of encouragement for people or communities who are in need of hope?
Faustina encourages people to always focus on the positive aspects of life. “The negatives will always be there as this is life but looking at positive outcomes towards certain situations will help you to remember that as human beings, we can all make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. It’s important to remember that there is always someone out there who can help in some way.”