My name is Samantha Chatham, although most people simply know me as Sam. My day job is spent managing my own Tourism Marketing consultancy called Somewhere SOUTH – Hospitality Solutions, along with the help of my valued assistant, Luckmore Fadzi, who hails from Zimbabwe. Originally from the UK, I’ve called South Africa home for 23 years and really do consider myself a proud Capetonian! I come from an animal-loving family where we were never had less than six dogs and cats. But it was only after I’d been in SA for a few years that I was introduced to the world of animal welfare and the ever-increasing cycle of abuse, suffering and neglect that exists out there, particularly in the poorer areas. I’ve learned many things since then; one of them is that the most loving dog “breed” in the world is called “rescued”…
Was I making a difference?
Like many people out there, I always tried to do my bit to support various welfare organisations, from organising fundraising events, food collections, home checks, etc. to making ad hoc donations as and when I could afford to. The people that dedicate themselves to animal rescue are my absolute heroes but have so much on their plates, so I understand it is not always realistic for them to keep us informed of how they spend every cent.
I do admit to sometimes wondering: where and how did my hard-earned cash make a difference?
Wet and cold with no shelter
The Purple Kennel concept had been in my mind for a while. If there’s one thing that keeps me awake at night during the sometimes-harsh Cape winters, it’s thinking of all those poor dogs in the townships, wet, cold and without shelter. Knowing that kennels are at the top of every welfare organisation’s “wish list”, especially at this time of the year, I decided that this was where I wanted to focus my efforts. The idea was to offer potential donors like me the opportunity to donate to something more tangible – something they could see, rather than a bottomless pit of vet bills.
Don’t get me wrong, vet bills and staff salaries – to mention just a few – are very real responsibilities of all animal welfare shelters and organisations, and all have to be paid.
But you get two kinds of donors: those who are more than happy to do an EFT, just knowing they’re helping somewhere, and those who do want to know the nitty gritty on how and where they have made a difference – this was the “gap in the market”, so to speak, that we were aiming for. I was convinced that if we could show them the difference they had made, they would carry on giving.
Now, just to put it all together…
Five months later…
Early in April 2016 I saw a carpenter at the roadside, selling kennels he’d made out of old pallets. Although rustic, they were solid, waterproof – and exactly what we were looking for. I quickly stopped, negotiated a price and ordered five there and then. I decided that if I couldn’t find any sponsors, I would find the money myself. We could never have imagined how quickly our project would take off…
Five short months later, with the help of the generous sponsors and welfare organisations, we had sent 218 Kennels out into areas where they were needed most, making many woofers (and cats) warm, dry, and very happy.
We now donate around 10 sponsored kennels a week to some of the 12 or so organisations that we work with. We are extremely proud of this, considering that we run a very busy business and so all of our Purple Kennel work happens somewhere in between. Luckmore has taken charge of most of the logistics and tries to ensure the kennels are given out fairly on a rotational basis, although sometimes our sponsors request that their kennel goes to a specific organisation – we, of course, always honour this.
A promise we made from the beginning to all kennel sponsors is that their kennel will not leave our HQ without a personalised, waterproof label attached that includes their name of choice (some people like to sponsor kennels as birthday presents for family or perhaps as a tribute in memory of their special fur friend). The label also includes the logo and contact number of the distributing welfare organisation in case of emergencies.
The only thing we ask for in return when donating kennels to the welfare partners to distribute is that they send us “Happy Homing” photos to share with the sponsors and, indeed, our supporters in general. And seeing dogs all cosy in their purple pads not only warms our hearts, but also encourages more kennel sponsors to also make a difference.
We’ve already sent out 40 Kennels this month (June 2017) and are hoping that winter season 2017 will see us break last year’s records and send even more Purple Kennels all over the Cape. Working in tourism, we’ve decided that we will know our job is done when incoming tourists start asking, “What are those purple boxes that we can see everywhere from above as we approach the landing in Cape Town!?” I cannot wait to be the one to answer THAT question!
Frequently asked Questions:
- The branding of my company, Somewhere SOUTH, is purple and this is an extension of me
- It’s my favourite colour
- People don’t forget you!
- People are less likely to use Purple Kennels for firewood
How much is it to sponsor a Kennel?
R400 – this includes a fleecy blanket and personalised label
How do I pay?
Purple Kennel Bank Details:
- Account name: Purple Kennel Project
- Bank: Capitec Bank
- Account number :1514816103
- Branch: 470010
- Account type: Savings
To find out more about Purple Kennel Project, email Sam at Sam@somewheresouth.co.za or Luckmore at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit their website at www.purplekennelproject.co.za and follow them on Facebook @purplekennelproject