Jaded as we might be about the importance of such things here in the US, directing the thinking of the young citizens of the world about pets is essential to the success of many not-for-profit programs. Spay/neuter, anti-cruelty, health and welfare – all that is on the line. Humane education is the foundation on which a new sensibility about animal welfare is built in cultures where none existed. That’s what I witnessed during my Amazon CARES trip to Peru.
Requena schools are Christian, probably Catholic, and all the children from kindergarden up wore uniforms. Expensive for the families of this small village, but an expense that must be deemed worth it given the hundreds of kids I saw.
The pre-school children got a treat today. There were 70 energized miniature citizens in several open air classes wondering what these strange adults were doing in their school. Molly Mednikow got an introduction from the local teachers in each of five classes. With such young children, humane education is limited to questions about who has a pet and hand-out sheets with drawings of pets and wild animals, which were a hit, as were the boxes of crayons given to color in the animal pictures.
The next day, third and fourth graders got a visit and were very enthusiastic about the talk from Amazon CARES. Each of the five classes we visited sang us a welcome song – they were really very sweet. It was an opportunity to not just talk to the children about their pets at home, but educate through a contest making it exciting for them and fun to watch. Crayon sets made great prizes.
It was also gratifying to see the same kind of student interaction with the teacher that we all must share in our memories…don’t you remember raising your hand and half your body out of the seat when you knew the answer and wanted the teacher to pick you? To see it in relation to humane education was a privilege. This is a great program and is worthy of more funding. Enjoy the photos =)