Friday, 11 March 2011

Do yoga. Feel good. Donate to TOHA. Feel even better!

Yoga Instructor Blossom Gilmour from Dili Yoga ( came up with a creative way to help us. She decided to donate all of the receipts from her March 2nd evening class to TOHA.  And THIS (below) is what we bought with the proceeds - dog food to be donated to the Dili Vet Clinic's animal shelter.  

Blossom may do another benefit class later in the year, too, so we'll let you know in advance and you can enter a blissed-out state through the ancient art of yoga and help us to protect animals in Timor-Leste at the same time!
What a good fundraising idea that was. If anyone else would like to explore ways of raising money for TOHA through business, we'd love to hear from you.
Thanks, Blossom!

In other news, TOHA-the-dog has received her first collar, in a rather fetching shade of mauve. She really did seem to be proud of herself, as you can see from the photo below, which is our new favourite picture of the TOHA mascot; she is already becoming a celebrity on Facebook ("like" our page here to get regular updates. You can also follow us on Twitter now: @tohatimor). TOHA has come such a long way since that dreadful night when we rescued her. She's bonding nicely with Vet Antonino do Karmo, who will soon help her through the next step: to learn to use a wheelchair so she can join him on his rounds and spread the TOHA message in person. 

Monday, 7 March 2011

Timor-Leste's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries opens TOHA Launch Party and Fundraiser

Dr Mariano Sabino (left) and Dr Antonino do Karmo (right)

The Timor-Leste Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Mariano Sabino, was the guest of honour at the TOHA launch party and fundraiser at the Venture Hotel on Wednesday night (March 2nd). The event was attended by around 200 people, including Kirsty Sword Gusmao, Chair of the National UNESCO Commission and the Alola Foundation, who is also the wife of Timor-Leste's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.  The TOHA Steering Committee is still preparing the accounts of the funds raised but we are happy to say that the amount will definitely exceed our expectations and we would like to extend our gratitude to all of the generous sponsors and guests who made contributions. Thanks to them, we will now be able to prepare an action plan for TOHA to start working on the objectives in our mission statement (click on the tab above this page to find out more). 

Kirsty Sword Gusmao chatting with Dr Mariano Sabino

In his opening remarks, Dr Mariano Sabino said that whilst his primary concern was the well-being of livestock, for its economic importance to this developing country, he also supported TOHA's campaign against animal cruelty in Timor-Leste: "I believe that our animal companions, our dogs and our cats, deserve to live out their term without having to endure the suffering that is sometimes inflicted on them due to ignorance. We, as a country, need to adopt a more humane perspective on all of our interactions with animals. Buffalo, pigs, chickens, dogs or cats – it doesn’t matter which species they are – should all be able to live out their lives without pain or cruelty. We depend on them and they depend on us. They ask for nothing more than a useful life and a quick end when the time comes. We should respect that. Through TOHA, I hope that these ideals will take hold in the Timorese mentality; it is, above all, the people of Timor-Leste who stand to gain most from this philosophy".

Sabino also said that TOHA could play a valuable role in supporting Timor-Leste's activities as a permanent member of the OIE (World Animal Health Organisation), which will be offering support to the government as it prepares its national strategic plan for veterinary services. TOHA Vet Antonino do Karmo is Timor-Leste's envoy to the OIE as well as a key member of the Sabino's staff at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. 

"There have been many advances in veterinary science in recent years, and we are very fortunate to have Dr Antonino do Karmo both within the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and as Interim President of TOHA. TOHA can act as a bridge between the Ministry and communities throughout the country in communicating and helping to apply the latest technical advances in animal husbandry in the field. TOHA can also help to connect us with donors and supporters overseas, who need to act through a local civil society partner in conjunction with the government", Sabino said, "We need focal points like TOHA to help us to apply programmes in the field and to open the channels of communication between Ministry and farmer, between Dili and the districts". 

Do Karmo followed up the Minister's speech with a presentation of TOHA's mission statement and objectives. 

Antonino do Karmo makes a heartfelt presentation about TOHA
and his life's mission caring for animals in Timor-Leste  

Once the formalities were over, guests enjoyed snacks and drinks whilst they listened to live music from "The Flippers", sponsored by Bruce Sinclair from Nautilus Restaurant. Kirsty Sword Gusmao and family helped draw the raffle tickets: Mr David Odlington-Smee won the star prize, a Hewlett Packard desktop printer. 

TOHA would like to thank all of the following companies and individuals for helping us to make this an enjoyable evening and for enabling us to work for animal protection and welfare in Timor-Leste: Susanne and Renee Jakszus from Austria, World Vets, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, Nautilus Restaurant, TOLL Timor-Leste, the Esplanada Hotel, Colleen Coy Pilates, Women's Woven Art/Trisha Johns, Cooperativa Cafe Timor-Leste, British Hairways, ANZ Bank, FreeFlow Diving, Dili Deli, SanCar, Hair Spa, Compass Charters, Beauty Beleza, Rotary International, Timor Telecom, Dili Building Solutions, One More Bar, Anteater Sanitation. A special thank you to Sheilla and all of the staff at the Venture Hotel for helping us to put on a great party.

For a video report in the Tetun language from Timor Today, click here . Thank you, Marcelino!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Great raffle prizes to be won at the TOHA Party on Wednesday

All of the TOHA volunteers are caught up in a frenzy of preparations for the TOHA launch party and fundraiser tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Venture Hotel from 6pm to 9pm. We are thrilled that the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mariano Sabino, will be there to share his thoughts on TOHA's work for animal protection and welfare in Timor-Leste.

We have been bowled over by the number of companies that have given their support to TOHA (see the slide show on the top right hand side of the page), either through financial contributions or by donating prizes for our fundraising raffle. The diversity of these companies demonstrates the broad range of people who, like us,  are dedicated to improving conditions for animals in Timor-Leste.

At the last count, the prizes to be won in the raffle are:
- A Hewlett Packard 2050 deskjet printer/scanner/copier from Sancar (pictured above)
- A basket full of goodies from Cooperative Cafe Timor-Leste
- Some serious pedicure pampering from Beauty Beleza (with nice cup of herbal tea)
- An aromatherapy cream bath (a deep conditioning hair treatment with head massage) from Hair Spa
- Lunch for two at Nautilus Restaurant
- Dinner for two at the Esplanada Hotel
- An introductory PADI "Discover Scuba" dive course from FreeFlow Diving
- Pilates lessons from Colleen Coy
- 3 bottles of red wine and 3 bottles of white wine from Dili Deli Fine Wines and Food
- Hair styling from British Hairways

We've always believed that helping animals helps humans, too; the winners of these prizes will certainly enjoy them as a just reward for their support for TOHA.  It's not too late to buy a raffle ticket - they will be on sale at the party.

Thank you to all of our sponsors and friends. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow night.