Beatrice Gibbens of RE/MAX Toti says that her local SPCA was going to close two years ago after the Lotto withdrew its support.
So, she organised a meeting and got volunteers involved. “We brought in hundreds of Rands within the next couple of months via auctions, raffles and bingo evenings, and then the volunteers organised three shipping containers with aircons and changed them into storage, a charity shop and a book store. Their fundraising has subsequently has gone from strength to strength.”
She started the fundraising committee and was also on the SPCA committee but has withdrawn from both as they are now well organised and don’t need her.
Beatrice and her gardener fetch pregnant or neglected dogs from the rural areas and pay the owners to let them have the dogs, which she takes to the SPCA. On an ongoing basis she enables the sterilisation of dogs and cats – four dogs last month and 10 cats this month so far. She also buys birds from sellers if they are living in appalling conditions, and rehomes them.
“I have on a few occasions fostered dogs and birds to go on to loving homes and I myself have 10 dogs that look like they are going to outlive me – life is just too good to them!”
Beatrice’s work with animals aside, she has built a house for her HIV-positive gardener and furnished it. She has also added rooms to two other houses belonging to poor people, one of which was for a domestic worker who died in a taxi accident. She then provided for the woman’s children and secured them all jobs when they finished school.