Pen Farthing is the CNN Hero of the Year!

Four years ago I met Louise Hastie, a volunteer with “Nowzad Charity” which is a program to rescue cats and dogs in Afghanistan. Our first meeting took place over my kitchen table while a local vet tried to help me save an injured puppy I’d found outside my door. When PARSA moved from Karte-3 to our new offices in Marastoon we inherited a large stray dog and cat population that survived here off scraps from the open garbage pits used by the local residents; this led to Louise and I working together to get the many puppies I found in Marastoon neutered and adopted into new homes. I was then introduced to Pen Farthing, the founder of Nowzad, who worked with Louise and shared with her the impossible of making a systemic impact on Kabul’s stray dog population – not only to have the animals treated humanely by locals, but also to arrest the rabies epidemic that is still a major threat to the health of human communities, especially to children. PARSA’s Country Director, Yasin Farid, and I supported this vision as part of our own PARSA vision for Building Healthy Afghan Communities, and over the years we have had the privilege of supporting Pen and his amazing team of staff and supporters.

Today Pen won the CNN Hero of the Year Award, on behalf of the Nowzad organization. This accomplishment is a testament to his vision, perseverance in the face of incredible difficulties, and especially to his Nowzad staff – both international and national. PARSA is proud to have been a part of this story. PARSA and Nowzad work together in Afghanistan in a way that I wish more organizations could – with complete support for each other. More importantly, PARSA supports Nowzad’s vision for work in Afghanistan in the future. When I spoke to Louise this morning to congratulate her, her first words were “Now we can get the support we need to really focus on our “Trap, Neuter, Release” program!!!” This is what Nowzad is all about….and on behalf of PARSA, their partner, we congratulate Pen and his team on an incredibly difficult job well done.  For more about the Nowzad story please click here….

Oh, by the way, my family has 14 dogs, including our huge 75kg mascot “Sherak”, and all our dogs have a job to do at PARSA.  They protect the area by chasing away stray dogs which keeps our compound disease-free. We are the first example of the effective benefits of a “Trap, Neuter, Release” program. Louise and her team take amazing care of our animals. It makes our life here so much easier….a personal thanks to the Nowzad team in Afghanistan.

Norm and the gang

Dr. Norm looking impressed by a few of our 12 family dogs.