As all of you know, I started and have been running a non-profit organisation for abused and abandoned horses in the Azores. We became the only registered non-profit equine rescue in all of the archipelago in 2016. Since then, we have a built up a strong connection with our local community and school system. We firmly believe that the only way to facilitate change is through education and awareness, and have grown to a point now where we need to establish a solid financial base as an organisation, in order to meet the needs of our future (and even more horses).
We are thankful for all of the work of our volunteers, though they can not be expected to do the work of a full-time employee.
While I was in the U.S. helping my mother after my stepfather passed, I took a look at my own situation from a different perspective. The computer job that has been paying my bills for the past 20 years was about to end, so I was faced with a unique opportunity. I already volunteer 30+ hours/week for our association, why not put all of my efforts into it and see what we can really do!
I spoke with friends who have known me since childhood–, good friends from college and friends who have worked with other non-profits. All of them had really good ideas. I was overwhelmed by the support they showed me, and what we came up with together!
What not all of you know, is that it was never actually my dream to work with or even have horses;, I would not have considered myself much of a horse person at all. In fact, they scared me. When I moved to the Azores in 2010, I thought I would continue my painting and have a small gallery, like I had in Hamburg. I found the perfect house and started working on my dream.
And then …
I found the first abandoned horse while walking my dogs on a hot summer day in 2011. I did my best to find her owner and, when I couldn’t, I wanted to find her a good home. She is still with me today. Her name is Mocca. She is spoiled and more like a dog than a horse. She is a star with our visitors and especially loves being around children. She taught me that horses are kind and gentle, and sensitive and funny. She would run across the farmers’ fields with the dogs and they would all come back together when I called them. If I didn’t have time to take her, the farmers asked about her. I soon heard that they called me “the foreigner who talks to horses.”
We now have 11 horses. Nine are here on my land we call Ninovan (the Cheyenne word for “our home”), and two are fostered on the other side of the island. It is a lot of work, and I have finally learned to love my work with these amazing creatures. But I have not painted since Ninovan has reached its current capacity.
So, my friends and I came up with this
special fundraiser, designed to allow me to be able to continue my volunteer work on a full-time basis for Ninovan–, and get me back into painting! If it works, I will have enough time
to focus on the future of Ninovan– and to paint!
The idea is to find enough friends to commit to contributing 20€ / month (approx. 25€ / month) for one year. At the end of the year, you will receive an original painting of one of our famous sunsets that bless us at every summer event, with a pair of horse ears in the foreground.
The ears of a horse tell us pretty much everything we need to know about the horse standing in front of us. I have noticed that the ears on our horses are all different. So I would like to create individual sunsets with individual pairs of ears that represent each of our horses. Along with the painting, you will receive a little story about that particular horse and how she or he came to live with us.
If you are interested in contributing to this special project, please use this PayPal link, which is the easiest way to transfer funds from the U.S. to Portugal. If you are not familiar with PayPal, and would like to join us, please write me a little note or message me on Facebook. I will be happy to figure something out that works for you. And please make it as easy as possible for yourself, whether that is a monthly, quarterly, or annual contribution. If you have trouble with the link, you can use the Donate button on the bottom of this page. Also, if you are interested in receiving our irregular newsletters, just let me know!
During the next year I will work on professionalising Ninovan and strengthening our presence on our island and abroad. I will also be more involved with the politics behind animal welfare. Our local political party People, Animals & Nature, has made me an honorary member and asked me to help them with the creation of new laws to protect not only our small animals, but also our eEquines, which have, until recently, not been considered worthy of protection.
If you would like to help on a different level, perhaps you would consider creating a fundraiser of your own? Facebook makes it easy to create a birthday fundraiser for an organisation you care about. :)
If fundraising is not your thing, maybe you know someone you would like to share our ideas with? Whether you join us on this mission, or another one, I am thankful for your support.
Without your support, we would have not made it to where we are today!
Wishing you an awesome day!