Darwin Animal Doctors


Emphasis Education

Education is a big part of what we do at Darwin Animal Doctors, whether it’s the incredible Youth Rangers Programme: the hands on community engagement, conservation programme we spoke about a few weeks ago, which encourages communities and children to have their voices heard and make a change; or Piggy’s humane education curriculum, rooted in the wonderful A Piggy’s Tale comic books, and being taught at home in the US and around the world. So it can come as no surprise that we partner with many schools in many countries around the world, as well as community education initiatives.

Just recently, Hadee donated her birthday fundraiser to the Sapo Zuma Zuma school, https://www.facebook.com/sumatrasapozumazuma, in Sumatra, Indonesia. Sapo Zuma Zuma is a free school which provides conservation, English language and traditional dance classes to local children. Their emphasis is on the importance of protecting nature for the future.

Sapo Zuma Zuma is just one of the schools on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park: the last place on Earth where tigers, elephants, rhinos and orangutans co-exist, that we partner with. Another is the Bukit Lawang Trust, https://www.facebook.com/BukitLawangTrust, an education based community project that runs free English classes, kindergarten, conservation education and other programmes.

Since we started working with the communities in this area of Sumatra, we’ve had children complete the first phase of the Youth Ranger programme, learning forestry skills, English, and vocational skills, and patrolling with the rangers in the Leuser Ecosystem rainforest. We’ve also had the children learning A Piggy’s Tale, in lessons in English language and humane education in the classrooms.

We’ve worked with the National Park rangers in the rainforest, in their school set up to educate children on the importance of their ecosystem and to give them alternatives to the palm oil industry, and we’ve been directly to the surrounding colleges and universities to implement these programmes in Sumatra.

In the Dominican Republic, the schools we work with see a heart-breaking number of at-risk children. The local environment has been ravaged by natural disasters, and the economy poor. The schools themselves have just the bare bones of infrastructure.

Despite these hardships, and admittedly a somewhat rocky start, Proteccion Animal Cabrera, https://www.facebook.com/proteccionanimalcabrera, our local partner persevered in implementing Piggy’s Animal Guardians programme. The humane education programme has seen groups of highly at-risk children making presentations on animals and their ecosystem, working cooperatively in groups, and making stories about animals and why we need to care more for them. The transformation in the children has been amazing.

The children, with their amazing teachers, completed a 6 week pilot of Piggy’s humane education program in 2019, and this year they’ve completed eight more sessions in a small mountain school. An additional two schools have started the program but have yet to finish due to the shut down.

In Puerto Rico, much of our focus was on rebuilding, following hurricane Maria late in 2017. We began rebuilding schools around Morovis, starting with three, then five, with the schools using our humane curriculum as we rebuilt. Our partners at the Las Cabachuelas Nature Reserve, https://www.facebook.com/proyectocabachuelas, in Morovis, along with students from our local school partners, took part in our rebuilding program, building sustainable gardens and hands-on science labs. A lot of the focus was on getting the kids outside, moving, learning about their world by exploring it and empathizing with the animals they see.

Worldwide, for each school we reach, many more schools approach us asking for the programme as well. We are working towards partnerships with local schools across Madagascar and in the Arusha community in Tanzania to implement our Youth Rangers Programme and Piggy’s humane education.

And of course who can forget the schools in the US where Piggy brought comfort and care to hundreds of children, and his humane education principles continue.



-Tod and the Team, Darwin Animal Doctors

In loving memory of our hero, Piggy:

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