Meet this Delhi-based NGO that fed over 900 dogs a day during COVID-19 lockdown
After witnessing a starving dog on the streets of West Delhi, animal lover Arpit Mathur — who was working with the Robin Hood Army, took to feeding the canines on the street.
“I took the initiative to take care of my locality strays when one day I came across a dog lying down on the footpath, and he was skinny and starving. I bought some milk and bread to feed him, and from there, my journey began,” Arpit tells SocialStory.
Soon, he was joined by several volunteers who fed these dogs and decided to start NGO Perroayuda Welfare Foundation (PWF) in 2019. It was officially registered in 2020.
Arpit Mathur feeding strays in his area
The name Perroayuda is a portmanteau of two Spanish words: ‘Perro,’ which means dog, and ‘Ayuda,’ which translates to help.
“The name rightly represents what we do and what we stand for. We help stray animals in all ways possible — from rescuing, providing them with treatment to adoption. Our team spends relentless nights on the streets saving and aiding dogs,” says Arpit.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, over 111 active volunteers continued to feed their local strays. On average, they feed over 900 strays throughout Delhi-NCR and in a few parts of Ghaziabad. Due to the lockdown, the volunteers fed stray dogs and other animals in their locality.
An NGO for dog welfare
Perroayuda Welfare Foundation is a youth-based organisation. Most of the team are within the age group of 20-25. These volunteers work under different departments, and in fact, the board of directors are of the same age group.
The NGO’s main objective is to lend a helping hand to stray animals in need wherever one finds them, provide them with food, care, love, medical treatment, and organise fun feeding drives for awareness and adoption.
“Our prime motto is to handle the cases very sensitively and provide a safe, kind, and benevolent platform for animals. It is a social initiative that focuses on the contribution of people towards animals who have no one to look after,” says Arpit.
In fact, the organisation is not limited to a particular area and tries reaching other states and cities, depending on the volunteer availability in that region.
Perroayuda feeds its bootstrapped dry dog food to the strays to ensure the dogs get proper nutrition, with no compromise on the quality.
Rescue and rehabilitation
While earlier Perroayuda’s primary focus was on dogs, it has now become an organisation that also rescues other stray animals, including cows, kites, eagles, and monkeys, among other animal species, who are in distress.
“We get many late-night calls to rescue strays in the most secluded parts of Delhi. However, our volunteers led by Prabhjeet Singh — also one of the board members — never step down from an opportunity to save lives,” says Arpit.
The team of volunteers
The team rescues about two to three strays every day and fund their treatment from donations. They encounter numerous cases like ulcers, tumours, maggots, and parvovirus, to name a few.
The volunteers raise funds via donations to help with the appropriate medical treatment from the vet. The NGO spends anything between Rs 300 and Rs 3000 per stray for their overall treatment.
Recently, it also launched a crowdfunding campaign on ImpactGuru and has successfully raised Rs 2 lakh.
Awareness and feeding drives
PWF conducted Mega Stray Feeding Drives, during which the volunteers across Delhi-NCR gather at a pre-decided location and feed all strays in that locality.
“Our volunteers would gather twice a month and conduct these drives. However, as COVID-19 hit, the Mega Feeding Drives were also impacted, and our volunteers feed the strays in their respective localities,” says Arpit.
The NGO also started Project Yogdan in May 2021, where it puts out feeding bowls for strays across Delhi.
“We believe a society is empowered through awareness, and hence, Perroayuda conducts events like webinars, feeding drives, and Instagram lives throughout the year to encourage more youth, like us, to look after the strays in their areas,” shares Arpit.
The NGO created an Instagram filter challenge, wherein a placard shows the number of dogs a user has to feed. It started the campaign to encourage people to take an animal feeding challenge during the lockdown.
Challenges and the way forward
One of the biggest challenges for the NGO is being stopped by other bystanders who would often question them about feeding dogs.
“In addition to that, our manpower is not fully sufficient to reach different places. Moreover, getting sufficient funds has been an issue for us, and so we are raising money for the same,” says Arpit.
Moving forward, the NGO will be getting the 80G and 12A certificates for tax exemption and permitting a deduction for donation purposes. Besides, it is also trying to appoint leaders in the different parts of Delhi and expand its operations.
“We are also onboarding intern volunteers with a learn and work environment, where we provide them with online courses, post which we familiarise them with the on-ground work,” says Arpit.