Sandesh Raju has only one passion in life — to rescue animals. Although this line of work is considered unrewarding by many, he feels more than compensated when he looks into the eyes of the animals he rescues and knows there is no fear or pain in them.
A Bengalurean, Sandesh has always loved animals and started working with and rescuing them when he was 19 years old. He worked as the secretary of the Blue Cross while pursuing his master's in French from Hyderabad. After returning to Bengaluru and working at a corporate firm for a few years, he decided it was time to give it up and started the NGO Samabhava. Talking to The Times of India, he said,
"I felt Bengaluru had quite a number of dog-welfare people, and one needed to speak out on behalf of other species, especially 'working animals'. There was no other organisation in the city that focused exclusively on the welfare of working animals. So I, along with three of my friends, founded Samabhava."
In 2010, he quit his job and put all his savings into starting the NGO. It all started when he rescued his first pony, who, having been electrocuted, was on the verge of death. The first two years were spent largely on going door to door and creating awareness about how best to take care of these animals. So far he has rescued 53 abandoned and injured equines. According to The News Minute, he said,
"We thought we would be jobless after two years because these owners and caretakers would become aware enough on how to take proper care of these animals. But we weren’t that successful. I’d say only seven–eight percent of our efforts paid off."
What makes Sandesh stand apart is that he does not believe in pampering the injured animals after taking them in. The aim is to help them recover, which, in turn, will enable them to live healthy lives.
In Sandesh's experience, people in Bengaluru are kinder to animals than those in other cities. At present, Samabhava has four shelters in the city, with the main shelter situated at Palace Grounds.
Finding funds to take care of the animals is the biggest difficulty that Sandesh and the NGO are facing, so much so that they haven’t been able to rescue any animal since September 2016.
Sandesh's mission is to make sure that the animals he rescues and other abandoned animals do not suffer in their old age. Hence he looks forward to the day when a retirement home for them can become a reality.
Image Credits: The News Minute