Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cora's Pet Project: Healing South Africa, one animal at a time

A moving story about an amazing, courageous woman who works tirelessly to help animals, and people in need, in South Africa.

Cora Bailey ventures into some of South Africa’s most deprived townships to treat people’s animals, but she also has to confront the even more urgent needs of their owners.

“There’s hardly a day goes by when you don’t see some kind of suffering,” she tells Dateline's Amos Roberts. “Sometimes you see suffering that’s almost indescribable.”

In the tough townships where she works, people can’t afford animal care, but she just can’t say no to treating the ill, injured and abused animals that come her way.

Cora’s work started 25 years ago, after she became frustrated by the lack of concern for animal welfare in the townships.

“I had to raise the money myself and it was all at my own risk and there was a lot of negativity about it,” she says.

Now, her Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) clinic is backed by an animal charity.

But violence is still a daily reality that she’s witnessed firsthand – the area where she works has one of the highest murder rates in the province.

And that divide between rich and poor in modern South Africa angers her.

“Political freedom hasn’t put food on the table for everyone, political freedom hasn’t meant decent housing or sanitation,” she says.

“I can be in the townships for weeks on end, going daily and never see another white. Sometimes just a bus with tourists and they are all foreign and what a shame that is.”

“We South Africans aren’t a bad lot and I think a lot more people would do things if they got over their fear - you know people in this country fear each other.”

Story By Amos Roberts. Aired on Channel SBS One Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 21:30 . You can view the video of this story - duration 25 minutes here. Definitely worth watching!

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