Showing posts with label The Cat Man Of Aleppo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Cat Man Of Aleppo. Show all posts

Wednesday 20 March 2019

The Cat Man Of Aleppo

Alaa and Ernesto
Ambulance driver and paramedic Mohammad Aljaleel (known as Alaa) is a remarkable man. He rescued hundreds of cats during the war in Syria and set up a cat sanctuary called Ernesto's House, named after his first cat. As families fled the war torn country, they left their beloved pets with him, knowing he would look after them.

But then tragedy struck. The sanctuary was bombed and chlorine-gassed with all but a few of the cats killed or lost. Alaa was forced to flee, taking the remaining cats with him.

Now Alaa has returned and set up a new sanctuary in an area close to Aleppo. His work has expanded and the new sanctuary includes an orphanage, a kindergarten and a veterinary clinic. Alaa and his team resemble a small development agency, providing services that government and international charities cannot or will not. He believes that helping children look after vulnerable animals teaches them the importance of kindness to all living creatures, and helps to heal their own war traumas.

Sanctuary vet Dr Youssef
His new sanctuary has about 25 cats. But for Alaa and the people who visit it, it is more than just a cat sanctuary. "It seeks to erase the war from children’s minds,” he said. “Caring for the cats is a gateway to bringing good will to the country and build it around being more merciful."

"I've always felt it's my duty and my pleasure to help people and animals whenever they need help," Alaa says. "I believe that whoever does this will be the happiest person in the world, besides being lucky in his life."

Alaa always worked for the benefit of the community, as well as the cats themselves. While still in Aleppo, he and his team of helpers bought generators, dug wells and stockpiled food. Even at the height of the bombing, they ran animal welfare courses for children, to develop their empathy. They also set up a playground next to the sanctuary where children could briefly escape from the apocalyptic events taking place all around them.

Below is a video of Alaa in his new sanctuary.

Take a look at the book below - written by Toffee, the sassiest cat in the world!

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