If you want to do more than help from home - which is already great! - there are ways you can volunteer to help Manuela and our small team of supporters in a slightly more hands-on capacity. As well as being a flight volunteer, fostering a pet or getting involved in the transport of animals, you can actually come to Avsallar and help make a difference every day by feeding and looking after the street animals alongside Manuela for a few days or weeks. You can also go out there and focus on helping with our Trap-Neuter-Release efforts.
VOLUNTEErING IN AVSALLAR
If you want to see for yourself how rewarding helping animals who need it the most can be, why not go on a trip to Avsallar next time you can spare even just a few days? Many volunteers from Europe, North America and even Japan have gone (and gone again!) to help Manuela on the ground, taking part in the feeding walk, which is a great way to get to know the animals, be there when an emergency arises, introduce the animals to potential adopters etc.; helping to catch animals for neutering or to bring them to safety if they were adopting; helping the animals in quarantine at the clinic to socialize and stay well and happy as they await their trip to their forever home... There really is plenty to do!
Whether you're a vet student or an accountant, as long as you have some enthusiasm to help animals, your presence in Avsallar is bound to make a difference.
So far, volunteers have either stayed at a local hotel or with Manuela. Unfortunately we cannot cover volunteers' expenses since, as you no doubt understand by now, we run entirely on donations and are all volunteers ourselves. Do get in touch if you have any questions - you can ask to speak to those of us that have already been to Avsallar if you would like any advice.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY ABOUT HELPING MANUELA IN AVSALLAR...
Meher Toorkey London, UK
"I had been supporting Manuela for some time and had already acquired 3 cats from Turkey, 2 from Avsallar and one with 3 legs from Alanya, so had been following the lives of their companions, both on the streets and in the cat room closely.
The first impression was of crowds of hungry cats and dogs and trees overladen with fruit - oranges, grapefruit and lemons, but sadly nothing the animals can eat. So much beauty, the lush green gardens, the beautiful sea and sky and hundreds of strays craving for not just food, but affection.These were street cats who had no reason to trust a stranger, as they are kicked, ignored and treated with very little respect by the vast majority, but who were still prepared to bestow their trust in me and offer their friendship, and this I found deeply touching.
Meher's cat Jordan, an ex-Avsallar street cat - scared and wild a year ago, now a happy member of Meher's family
I proceeded to do a serious trap, neuter and return campaign with the help of Dr. Bilal who impressed me with his calm loving efficiency and we trapped 45 cats in 5 days, 20 of whom I kept in the cat room and who are all now going to Europe and the UK to start new lives, either in foster homes or permanent loving homes.
I now knew each one of them by name and the bond was formed. These cats haunt my waking hours and my dreams at night as I stay awake worrying about their welfare and if they will see tomorrow as the odds are so heavily stacked against them with a busy coastal highway running through Avsallar. I visited the area where my own cats were born and a chill went down my spine as I realized how close they were to death. Portia had already seen her only child killed in front of her eyes. Jordan lived on a junk pile with wasps swarming round his head as he ate.
Those 10 days changed my life and as I sat in my comfortable hotel room in Hanover, as I had transported 2 lucky adopted cats there, I realized I was missing my new friends in Avsallar and could not wait to be back to them, sharing their lives and knew I would return again and again to help them get better lives.
I urge everyone to go and volunteer and meet these charming animals. Once met, they will steal a part of your heart forever."
Angela Tutt Crewe, UK
Angela's lucky girl, Snowdrop, when they first met
"October 2013 and I was volunteering in Avsallar. A shy little cat waited each day for me by a busy crossroads and she changed my life because she is now in it! I adopted her, she is called Snowdrop and each night she sleeps on my pillow. Gradually throughout the visit she learnt to trust and each day she came a little bit closer until she let me touch her.
If you are thinking of volunteering please do it. For me it is one of the best and most rewarding things I have ever done. Meeting Manuela and the animals, before only ever seeing them on a Facebook page, is a great experience and there is a warm welcome by all. Helping with the feeding walk, SNR or visiting and playing with the cats in the cat room... Whatever you do it is all greatly appreciated.
For me personally I have found it incredibly moving. These beautiful animals don't just need the food, they long for your company too. Spend as much time as you like with them along the feeding walk because they will enjoy every minute. When a previously shy cat runs up to you for a fuss or takes food from your hand you will be thrilled.
The most difficult thing for me is the last feeding walk before coming home and saying good bye. I always tell them I love them, and I miss them so much when I get home.
I have also helped escort adopted cats back to the UK so the helping can continue even when you head home. So please if you get the chance to visit and help please go. You can really make a difference, make lots of wonderful friends and take home the most amazing memories."