CSI achieves major milestone
GRAAFF-REINET — “From humble beginnings in 2012 when sufficient funds were raised to sterilise 17 dogs and cats, we are extremely proud, but also humbled and grateful to our Heavenly Father, to share the fantastic news with our supporters that today marks the 1000th sterilisation to be done by CSI for underprivileged dogs and cats in our community!”
This was the exciting news conveyed to supporters of the Camdeboo Sterilisation Initiative in their recent newsletter by founder Erma Voigt.
Graaff-reinet resident Voigt has always been passionate about the plight of unwanted animals and has been involved, with her husband Pietie, in taking neglected animals for sterilisation in her private capacity since 1999. This however proved to be an expensive exercise, paying full rates with the vet.
A few years ago, local vet Dr Mackie Hobson suggested that Erma should get together with Jenny Mcfadyen, who was also doing similar work. The CSI was born from this collaboration, and the organisation has gone from strength to strength. Jenny then moved away from Graaff-reinet, but Erma and her team have continued with the sterilisation campaigns and made a tremendous impact on the welfare of local cats and dogs. Although not a registered NPO, CSI is affiliated to Animal Outreaches in Port Elizabeth and thus can get the benefits of NPO status.
CSI works mostly with animals from poorer households in Graaff-reinet, Nieu-bethesda, and Noupoort. “We chose to work in these other towns as they have no veterinary services of their own, and we realised that there is a tremendous need,” said Erma. Although Aberdeen also has no vet, they are well supported by the Klein Karoo- based KAPS.
Funding for sterilisations comes purely from donations. Some of these come in by regular monthly debit order, and Erma and her team are very grateful to those who have made this commitment. Funds are also generated by sales of secondhand books at markets, and on an ongoing basis at Mcnaughton’s Bookshop, which is greatly appreciated. The local vets at Camdeboo Vet Clinic and Dr Roland Larson are also very supportive.
Many people do not realize that most of the people involved with CSI also have full-time jobs, including Erma herself. The 30 minute “window” between finishing work at 17:00 and the vets closing at 5.30pm is often spent in a whirlwind of activity, collecting dogs from the townships and dropping them off at the vets. Erma emphasises that the work of CSI is truly a team effort and that she could not cope without the invaluable assistance of Greg Kappers, Sandi Will, Hilary Chaplin, Tess Erlank and her husband Pietie. Victoria Nance and Grace Nel provide support in Nieu-bethesda, and Courtney Stassen in Noupoort.
“Sometimes the difficulties can seem overwhelming, but knowing that every sterilisation is potentially saving many thousands of lives down the line from being born into a life of misery, keeps us going,” said Voigt. The CSI team.