Sipho is charismatic and caring 10-year-old who lives in Zwelihle, Hermanus. It’s been almost a year since his first appearance at the Hermanus Animal Welfare Society (HAWS), but the staff still remember the first time he marched in and confidently requested a dog leash and food for his three dogs called Government, Justice and Police.
After that first memorable visit, Sipho returned weekly with his loyal dogs for food and to make sure they were healthy. Before long, he was rounding up sick dogs and owners with puppies in the neighbourhood in need of food, vaccinations and various medical treatments. After a couple of weeks, neighbourhood friends and other children were following his lead, bringing their beloved pets for check-ups.
Sipho, with his generous heart, thought that the food and treatments were free. After a few weeks HAWS had to let him know that unfortunately it wasn’t and they were struggling to keep up with all the dogs and cats being brought for treatments. This did not stop Sipho. He immediately offered to help out at HAWS by cleaning up after the dogs to “earn” his animal care.
Still, more was needed to maintain the services and products provided to Sipho and his growing group of friends contributing to this special cause. So, HAWS opened a separate account for donations. Today the money is used for Sipho’s dogs as well as the animals he refers; improvements to his home (fencing his yard); school equipment and school fees. In addition to this, the fund assists other children who are taking responsibility for their animals, specifically those who work to earn treatments.
“HAWS currently supports and assists almost 40 children from Zwelihle and Mount Pleasant in Hermanus. These children come and ‘earn’ their animal treatments (vaccinations, sterilisations and parasite control) by working at the kennels. This system helps children value the pet food, leashes and treatments they receive for their work and teaches them that animals are a big responsibility.” – Lenke Elferink, HAWS Kennel/Clinic Manager
The highest priority remains funding, followed by education for Sipho and his fellow philanthropists. Then there’s also the long-term management of his schooling and the finances associated and finally mentoring in both life skills as well as animal skills. Sipho is a good pupil who attended the Zwelihle Primary School, but this year he will join the Hermanus Primary School, in part thanks to the wonderful work he’s done in his community.
Sipho’s initiative, with the assistance of HAWS, is influencing everyone. Lenke notes, “we are seeing changes in the way the communities are interacting both with us and with the natural world; there is also a sense of trust being built between us and the community. It gives all of us here such hope for building a solid base from which we can carry on from”.
Still, the need for funds, to continue the good work, grows every day.
Would you like to assist Sipho and HAWS with their mission?
Contact Lenke on 028 312 1281 / [email protected]
More About HAWS
HAWS operates on two sites: site one, the kennel complex in Steenbras Street (industrial area) where all the animals are kept and site two, the welfare charity shop in Mitchell Street, central Hermanus.