The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education programme. Rolled out in 2017, the programme sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.
The programme has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.
Addressing local press, government representatives and students from Sosa School at the opening ceremony, co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation [of stray dogs and cats] and education of, particularly, the next generation.
“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”
John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.
“We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment,” explained Humane Education Manager Nuttawut ‘Film’ Kumngern.
“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”
Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org