The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT) is a small NGO that was established in 2002. It was founded by two animal loving sisters, Stella Brewer Marsden and Heather Armstrong who had lived in The Gambia since 1957 when their parents came to the country to work. Their father, Eddie Brewer, worked in forestry originally but then went on to set up the Wildlife Department and Abuko Nature Reserve. He also gazetted some of the National Parks such as The River Gambia National Park and Kiang National Park. The whole family were animal lovers and their ethos of helping all animals in need, lives on in the charity today.
The first centre was built in Sambel Kunda in CRR but in 2016 we decided to open a new centre at Makasutu. We felt it would enable the urban animals to have access to better treatment and it was also close to the University of The Gambia and The Gambia College and Veterinary Headquarters at Abuko so that we could share our knowledge, build veterinary capacity and liaise more with the relevant Government Departments.
We work in a number of ways, we provide veterinary treatment to animals in need, both in our hospitals and with mobile clinics and call out but we also provide training and education to students of Agriculture and Animal Science, students at schools, owners and we hold workshops for Government paravets. We run an apprenticeship scheme to train animal care workers and we also run a donkey project where rehabilitated donkeys can go out on loan to very poor families. The family have to sign a contract to take good care of the animal, they also have to provide it with shelter and undergo training in animal management. The animals are checked on a monthly basis.
Over the years we have seen many changes for the better. Both our centres run at maximum capacity as so many people now seek our help. Although our main work is with horses and donkeys our help is now sought for many other species of animals and in addition to our stables, we have now added a kennel and cattery to our accommodation to cope with demand. At the present time we are caring for horses, donkeys, camels, sheep, goats, hyenas, crocodiles, cats, dogs and an injured turtle.
We are delighted that over the years there has been so much change for the better. We still have a great deal more work to do, but we are making progress which is encouraging. 2020 has meant that we have been unable to do our normal fundraising so the future is unclear but please do visit our website or follow us un social media and if you like what we do, please consider making a donation to enable us to continue our work.