Since we did not hit our funding target in order to get the clinic building, we are having to regroup after this incredible disappointment to push forward as quickly as possible after years of struggling to get the care the animals of central Vietnam need. The building we want has still not been rented luckily, so we still have time a little time we hope, but our lease was to begin 11 March for us in order for set up for the upcoming vet visit. As “luck” would have it, our first vet volunteer was DENIED his visa to Vietnam because he has an Italian passport! In the time of Covid-19, these are things we could not expect for or plan around. So now we are down a vet for the month and have no building. One hell of a hit to take. This stings for sure after an incredible effort with a lot against us to get this off the ground without being able to self-finance the project or rely on larger organizations to help out.
There is a laundry list of factors that make fundraising for this project difficult, but having it coupled with a huge rent payment after the most expensive 2 months of our organization that followed the worst holiday season income we’ve ever had was a big reason. Being sick off and on for the past 6 weeks (I swear it is not coronavirus…) didn’t make things easier for me along with being short staffed. We do not have the backing of any large welfare organizations, live 8000 miles from most of our donors who have never been to this country, and are among a paltry number of vegan organizations running rescues and veterinary programs. We’ve got a fair few cards stacked against us, and nothing but fire in our veins that prevent us from stopping. Being on the damn ground here in the trenches for 8 years has taught me that doing this work by holding up the status quo of speciesist rescue work and playing clean up crew for totally preventable suffering and death is batshit insane and we can do things much better than this with the right resources and the committed, educated, experienced and slightly insane team of ass kickers behind us and the appropriate funding.
This is why we decided to ship me off to the UK ad US with a very quick kitty drop off in Berlin on the way (also to pick up some vegan donuts there). Social Media, newsletters, emails, crowdfunding, etc. which we rely on due to our location in a developing country with no out of country staff and no side income from a social enterprise requires an existing base of supporters that know and trust us and are aware of and interested in the work we do. This requires face to face contact, even if at the moment that means we do so through face masks with gloves on…
Let’s look at some challenges from our side of the world. Annual donations in Vietnam are $35 per person. That figure raises to over $2500 in the US, with high net worth donors averaging $25,000. We are a registered tax-exempt nonprofit in the US, I am American, and most of our donations come from this country that I so rarely even visit or know anyone in anymore since I have lived away for 14 years. Our budget for the veterinary work is drastically higher than just sheltering which we have such a hard time getting funding for anyway. We have to do what it takes to get the income we need to do what this country needs in terms of actually addressing the root causes of animal suffering. The aspect of this we can actually address as foreigners unable to do much in terms of social change projects is through our veterinary resources. Animal suffering here is partially a result of a veterinary and public health system that lags far behind in terms of its ability to provide the appropriate preventative care, diagnostics, and effective and safe surgical and non-surgical treatment for patients on a nationwide scale.
Our plan for the moment until coronavirus makes our lives much harder for international organizations relying on resources from abroad is to get a chance for me as the founding director to speak and exhibit at as many vegan festivals and animal rights conferences and events as possible. While I may not always say what people want to hear, I at least can say it with good public speaking skills and this damn loud American voice that just won’t shut the f*** up…
You can meet me in the UK for the next 3 weeks! I’ll be exhibiting at the Scotland Vegan Festival in Glasgow 28 March, but before that will be in London next weekend for the London Vegan Life Live festival for 2 days shaking as many hands as possible and hovering over the vegan cheese stalls who will be exhausted of my millions of questions and the tears of joy each cheese brings to my eyes. If I can get to the US in April, I will be at the Birmingham (Alabama) Vegan Festival as an exhibitor and speaker, but let’s see what happens with cancellations. Otherwise I am available for private meetings, dinners, coffees, and pints and would absolutely LOVE to meet some of our supporters abroad! Please message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, we are still gathering donations for the vet clinic building as we have to still get hat set up as we have loads of donations to bring in and supplies to purchase. We need to the full $3600 this week ideally and then I will be signing the lease form abroad. Please donate today to help us get to our goal! We have a neuter and a spay due this week, a big fencing project for our disabled dog, Jackpot, and we need to finally replace that perpetually broken gate. Please help keep our shelter work going as we get animals adopted and set up the clinic!
Thank you for your support!
Please donate here for our clinic!