Raksha Animal Welfare Club is devoted to animal welfare-related activities

In a day and age when time is both precious and money, it is heartening to see a group of people make time to make a difference and that too voluntarily. Meet Raksha Animal Welfare Club, a group of animal lovers, who are into animal welfare-related activities. Conceptualised by Nikhil Muralidharan, systems engineer at Infosys, founding Raksha came natural to him.

Fond of animals, especially dogs, Nikhil recollects rescuing abandoned puppies and handing them to People For Animals (PFA) while he was studying at Mohandas College of Engineering. “We raise dogs at home. My mother, Madhumati Nair, an animal lover is my pillar of strength. She never discouraged me from bringing in strays and finding them homes,” he says.

Drawing inspiration

Inspired by Karunya, an animal welfare network of an IT major in Chennai, Nikhil longed to start something similar at his workplace and so when he heard Karunya was looking to spread the word to Kerala, he contacted them. And so in July 2011, Raksha was founded with a gathering of like-minded “friends of animals from work and a couple of non-Infosys employees, who are passionate about animals.”

For instance, the group recently took an injured dog they found lying on the Kovalam Bypass road to the veterinary hospital at PMG. After treatment, the dog was given to the PFA animal shelter. “Injured animals are usually sent to the shelter, while animals, which we have rescued, are placed at foster homes until we find proper homes for them.” However, finding foster homes for these animals often pose a problem, says Nikhil. “Many of the group's members are not from the city and live in hostels so they can't take in the animals.”

Apart from rescuing animals, the group spends the weekends helping out at animal shelters. “It is fun and also therapeutic to spend time with animals. However there are very few ‘proper' animal shelters,” he says.

As the group is now a known face to PFA, the organisation occasionally contacts them for help. “We sometimes get calls from PFA asking us to help rescue abandoned kittens and puppies in certain areas. Raksha has a Facebook page where we post such alerts and members who reside in that particular area rescue them. The Facebook page also posts pictures of animals that are up for adoption.”

According to Nikhil, Raksha recently held an awareness camp on snakes at Infosys. “Some staff members had spotted snakes on the Infosys campus. To stop needless killing of them, we brought in snake expert Vava Suresh. He brought in a couple of harmless snakes with him and talked about them.”

Spread the word

The group has tied up with a fellow Infosys club called Eco Club. The two clubs will be helping out in the zoo. “We are planning to provide the zoo an incubator and feeding bowls for the animals; we are still trying to raise funds for it.” As the members of Raksha believe in the youth of today making a difference tomorrow, they will also be spreading the love for animals amongst school and college students.

“It is sad that people who are seen helping animals are looked down upon by others. We hope to change that a step at a time.” Contact Nikhil: 9633524607

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012