#Throwback: Talk It Over Ep 15 RJ Annapoorna in conversation with Nandita Amin

Talk it Over, is a weekly show curated and hosted by RJ Annapoorna Ravichander, Public Affairs Foundation. This series brings together a pool of experts who share their opinions and ideas on varied topics.

Nandita Amin wears several hats. She is passionate about nature, cooks’ exotic dishes. She is a keen photographer and runs many institutions in Vadodara. Primarily Nandita is an architect and specialises in landscape architect. However, now she is hands-on in love with animals and birds. VCARE was established primarily with the 

In this interview I captured her love for animals and birds.

Nandita Amin is the Founder Chairperson of Vadodara Centre for Animal Rescue and Emergency (VCARE), an institution that cares of stray animals and birds apart from running a boarding kennel for doge, a cattery, a special enclosure for donkeys. It also has an ICU and provides water therapy for animals. In fact, I was one of the persons who started VCARE along with Nandita way back in 1997. It is non-religious and non-political.  VCARE started with a small fundraiser where Hema Malini and her troupe performed the Mahalakshmi ballet which was well-received by the public.

Over the last 22 years VCARE has tried to set up infrastructure as in when funds are and it depends on contributions from well—wishers to keep it going. VCARE is a non-re;igious and non-political organisation and most important compassionate.  

COVID-19 and Animal Welfare

When the lockdown began VCARE realised that there were several street animals, primarily street dogs, some cattle and cats who had to fend for themselves. Earlier they were fed by cart food vendors and petty shop owners, but the lockdown left these animals in a lurch. VCARE came up with a brilliant idea of feeding stray animals by asking the staff and volunteers to go around the city and feed the stray animals. So puffed rice (poha), milk, biscuits were carted around the city and the stray animals were fed. In addition, because of intense summer water was also placed at vantage points.

The activity started at 6.00 p.m. and went on till 8.30 p.m. Soon it became a routine where the street animals would wait for this “treat”. Even after the lockdown was lifted they continued this activity. However, the snag is they depend on funds and contributions from well-wishers. 

Response from Common Man

VCARE acknowledges the fact that the common man has begun to understand the plight of street animals. There is a lot of compassion compared to what was seen earlier, when they started this exercise. Of course there is still a long way to go to involve citizens in such activities. Many people have come forward to be a volunteer and when faced with civic authorities for feeding food to street animals, they are counselled and government orders are shared with them. It is commendable that the governments both at the Centre and at the State levels have started in their own ways to help stray animals by engaging with volunteers.

On this point Nandita suggested that it would be great for localities to form volunteers and encourage them to take care of street animals within their geographic areas, since it may not be possible for an individual to do this. The volunteers could either cook some simple meals, provide simple medications (after contacting a local vet). The volunteer groups can contribute some money (small amounts) or collect from family and friends to help them with the activities.

She concluded by stating that this will be a small beginning and doable since one need not always be dependent on an NGO, who often look out for funding themselves.

Listen in

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