By Carol Ferraz
Juliana, president of AMPARA Animal, with the dog Bianca. After suffering violence when a puppy, Bianca lost the movement in her back paws. Today, she’s AMPARA’s mascot.
The World Health Organization estimates that in Brazil there are more than 20 million dogs and 10 million cats. Many of these animals are on the streets. In order to change this scenario, AMPARA Animal was created in August, 6 years ago. Since then, the organization has helped more than 500,000 animals around the country.
One who enters the headquarters of AMPARA Animal (AMPARA stands for Women’s Association for Protection of Rejected and Abandoned Animals) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, finds a small sign that makes clear this group of women’s passion: Rescued is my favorite breed. Considered as the biggest OSCIP (Civil Society Organization for Public Interest, a transparence title given by Brazilian authorities to NGOs ) for animal protection in Brazil, AMPARA Animal is the result of a great friendship and a common interest shared by president Juliana Camargo and vice-president Marcele Becker. Currently, their team is formed by 20 women, with some of them dedicating their full time to the organization and with a mission to change the reality of abandoned animals around the country in search for protection and a happy end for the dogs. “Brazil is the second country with the highest number of domestic animals in the world, but unfortunately, they are still seen as disposable. In the end, many of them are fated to abandon and a life of pain and suffering”, says Juliana.
To change this sad destiny, AMPARA has developed a strategy that differs from most of the animal welfare groups. Instead of focusing on animal rescue, the organization works as hub for sponsorships. This way, independent protectors and other NGOs can register at AMPARA in order to have some kind of support. They all go through a very complete and serious evaluation are regularly visited by one member of AMPARA to make sure the resources are being properly invested.
The strategies related to ACTION involve food and medicine donation as well as support for veterinarian assistance. The organization has recently started helping wild animals. The first project in the segment seeks to promote the welfare for jaguars that are at Wild Animals Rehabilitation Centers (CRAS). “Increasing our influence for other animals’ protection, besides the domestic ones, has always been a desire and now that the project is well structured for domestic animals, we can help more species and consequently preserve part of our ecosystem. And we’re just beginning”, completes Juliana.
THE ORGANIZATION SUPPORT HAPPENS SIMULTANEOUSLY IN DIFFERENT SEGMENTS THROUGH ACTIVITIES SUCH AS:
AMPARA believes that education is the most important way to avoid animal abuse and abandon. To work in this area, the organization has developed actions like the web series O Mundo Animal de Bibi (Bibi’s Animal World) that is showed at schools and cultural spaces. Besides that, there are special materials like educational coloring brochures. It’s a fun and ludic way to educate the little ones who, at this stage of life, absorb information that will be carried for the rest of their lives. According to Juliana, teaching very young kids that animals must be respected and treated with love is one of the most effective ways to avoid animal abandon.
Inauguration of Project Mundo Animal da Bibi, on World Animal Day, in Sao Paulo. A mobile cinema, in partnership with Truckvan, goes around the city showing the episodes of the series.
Juma, one of the jaguars that starred a campaign promoted by AMPARA Animal in order to improve the welfare of big felines from Associação Mata Ciliar
Exhibitions to raise awareness
Every two years, AMPARA develops a theme based on animal protect and invites Brazilian celebrities to illustrate their awareness campaigns which are displayed at shopping malls, cultural centers, hotels and events all over the country. In 5 years the organization has promoted 3 exhibitions: AMPARA Animal, We’re all mutts and Special is being different.
The exhibition Somos Todos Vira-Latas (We Are All Mutts) discusses people’s prejudice towards dogs that are not purebred by comparing their DNA to the traditional Brazilian miscegenation. In the image, Brazilian actors João Vicente de Castro and Bruno Gagliasso.
Especial é ser diferente (Special is being different) is the latest exhibition promoted by the organization. The photos pay homage to physically impaired animals that went through stories of deprivation and overcoming obstacles. In the image, the Paralympic athlete Fernando Fernandes and actress Fiorella Matheis.
AMPARA Animal was the first exhibition promoted by the organization. The theme was the animal abandon in Brazil and the myths about black cats and bad luck. In the image, the Brazilian actress Cléo Pires.
Task forces for sterilization and UMAVet
Task forces for sterilizations are periodically organized in the outskirts of Sao Paulo to control the over population of street animals. In 2016, AMPARA celebrated the approval of UMAVet, a project that takes a mobile unit care for veterinarian assistance, sterilization procedures and awareness programs to unattended neighborhoods in the Southeast region of Brazil.
Task forces for vaccination
The task forces for vaccination happen at NGOs or independent protection programs supported by AMPARA and assist about 80,000 cats and dogs a year.
Every week AMPARA promotes adoption events at pet shops, malls, hotels and cultural centers. These events happen due to a partnership with animal products brand Pedigree and their project Adotar é tudo de bom (Adoption is Great)
Supported by Pedigree and project Adotar é tudo de bom, AMPARA monthly distributes food to 10,000 animals through the registered NGOs and independent protectors.
With the support of Agener União, Merial and Bayer (animal health companies), AMPARA donates medicine to registered NGOs and independent protectors. Based on a responsible veterinarian assistance, the medicines include wormers, antibiotics, flea remedies and vaccines.
AMPARA promotes task forces for veterinarian assistance at animal shelters. Besides that, partnerships with clinics such as Vet Quality, Evet, Cães e Gatos, Fisio Care Pet and Dr. Gustavo Palmieri, allow the organization to assist animals rescued by NGOs or independent protectors.
In five years of acting, AMPARA Animal has reached 240 registered NGOs and independent protectors that are helped in a rotation system. The organization, that started with small donations of food, has already distributed more than 500 tons of food, vaccinated 130,000 animals, helped the veterinarian assistance for more than 300,000 cats and dogs and last, but not least, has found a forever home for more than 1,500 animals.
“When we created AMPARA, we just thought about leaving our comfort zone and start acting. Today, when I look back, I see those first 3 animal protectors transformed into 250 registered NGOs and thousands of saved animals”, says Juliana. And with every single happy-ending story the team gains an extra dose of motivation. “There’s nothing more rewarding than the gratitude and the love of an animal”, completes the president. “We could become a changing agent and we see it in every person who becomes aware about animal respect through one of our actions”. You can also be part of one of AMPARA Animal projects! Any person or company can collaborate with the organization and help making their projects a real thing. The building of a big veterinarian hospital to offer assistance at popular prices is the organization’s newest dream. To help, send them a message at firstname.lastname@example.org