Feel Good: Soshanguve man uplifts community with animal shelter

  Tebogo Maredi in Soshanguve, Pretoria has started an animal shelter to help dogs in poor living conditions. Take a look…   Tebogo Maredi, a man based in Soshanguve, Pretoria, has brought animal lovers in the township together. As per You, Maredi is addressing animal cruelty in the township through his non-profit organisation, the Soshanguve Animal Shelter. He has also gotten the youth involved to walk dogs once a week. TEBOGO MAREDI OPENS HIS HEART TO DOGS IN SOSHANGUVE In 2018, Tebogo Maredi lost his job as an operations manager and moved to Soshanguve, Pretoria with his dog, Ellie. Whenever the 32-year-old walked his dog, he would see that other dogs in the area were living in poor living conditions. “I would come across animals that were skinny and neglected. Some were tied to trees. I just figured I should help them,” he told You. Maredi then started the Soshanguve Animal Shelter and Educentre and began by feeding and washing five dogs in the community. His non-profit organisation has since taken off and he now caters for more than 200 dogs.     GETTING THE YOUTH INVOLVED Eventually, Maredi wanted to educate children about the dogs and started inviting them on regular walks. Approximately 90 children between 6 and 16 years old take the dogs on two kilometre walks. “I could have just given the children dog food and collars, but I wanted to educate them. I wanted to help children understand these animals also have feelings,” said Maredi. The Soshanguve Animal Shelter and Educentre runs through donations from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and other local dog lovers. DOGS LIVING IN THE TOWNSHIP As per Health24, The Mdzananda Animal Clinic’s project manager, June Levinson, said mortality rate for township puppies and kittens is high. “Especially when people do not have access to primary health care services and their pet is not immunised against cat flu/ parvovirus/distemper,” said Levinson. She added that dogs in the township live different lives to animals in the suburbs and are usually used to protect the family home. This article originally appeared in The South African HERE

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Meet the Soshanguve animal lover who’s changing children’s attitudes toward dogs

  Tebogo Maredi is hard at work encouraging the next generation of animal lovers   When Tebogo (32) lost his job as an operations manager in 2018, he moved to Soshanguve in Pretoria with his dog, Ellie. Tebogo started off by trying to provide school clothes for children from poor households, and feeding and washing dogs in the community. He began with five dogs, and now there are 204 dogs in the area benefitting from his educentre. Education is a big part of his work, too. “The children thought dogs were just there to guard us. I wanted to teach them that dogs need love too.” He started inviting children to join him and Ellie and walking with their dogs. Now, every Friday at 4pm, children gather outside his house with their dogs. Then they go for a walk, and they’re taught how to take better care of their furry friends. The pets are also treated to a wash. Each child is given a bag of dog supplies, including dog food, collars, leashes, blankets and more. “I could have just given the children dog food and collars, but I wanted to educate them. I wanted to help children understand these animals also have feelings.” Up to 90 children between the ages of 6 and 16 attend the two kilometre walks on Fridays, and while they’re out, they look out for more children who own dogs to join the program.     Tebogo explains that he runs the educentre with his partner, Refilwe Mogomotsi, and a team of volunteers – Sam Mlambo, Carol Ncoko, and Zakhona Mudau, who also look after rescued animals. “Whenever a dog has been abandoned or someone lost their job, we take care of that animal.” Soon the dogs will be moved to a 2,4-hectare plot where an animal shelter will be built. The organisation survives through donations from veterinarians, the SPCA and other dog lovers, who offer support by volunteering time and donating goods and money. Recently, a generous donor gave them a washing machine which they use to wash the dogs’ blankets. Tebogo adopted his first dog, Mandy, three years ago, but she passed away from parvovirus (cat flu). Ellie, a 15-year-old Boerboel, is his second dog. Although in human years his dog would be considered much older than him, he thinks of Ellie as his daughter. “She’s quite huge. She’s the one who made me love dogs more. When people first see her they’re scared of her because they think she bites, but then they find out she’s a very gentle soul. She loves children and belly rubs.” Tebogo wants people to see dogs as companions, and not as guard dogs, and he encourages them to adopt dogs from shelters as there are many who need homes. “Dogs love unconditionally. Dogs are loyal even to those that abuse them. I think it’s important for people to be cognisant of the fact that dogs feel pain like humans. They’re also living creatures.” This article originally appeared in YOU Magazine and News24 HERE  

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Tebogo Maredi is Creating a Community of Animal Lovers in his Township

Tebogo Maredi started a walking club for township children and their dogs to create a community of animal lovers which would address neglect and abuse.   Tebogo Maredi is focusing on creating a community of animal lovers to address the animal cruelty he sees in his community. Tebogo lives in the Soshanguve Township, just outside of Pretoria. He grew tired of seeing animals suffer and started the Soshanguve Animal Shelter and Educentre NPC to combat that. Having eyes on the ground, he has been able to get hands-on with changing the way his community deal with animals. One of the ways Tebogo helps the animals in his community is by getting the youth involved. Every Friday, the community come together to do a mass dog walk. Each child is invited to bring their leashed dog, and together with friends, they walk and socialise. Sometimes, Tebogo gets everyone together to bathe their dogs. This community effort allows him to identify any animals needing extra attention. “We invite children from our area and other areas to come do our walk in order to encourage responsible pet ownership. Keep dogs off chains and tied to trees and poles.     After our walk we cook food for the children as they come from underprivileged households at our informal settlement in Soshanguve. Then give them packs of dog food to take home. We also rescue animals in distress and take animals that needs urgent medical attention to the vets.” Tebogo works hand in hand with supportive vets and the SPCA to make sure the animals are appropriately cared for. If there are any cases of cruelty, he can get the appropriate authorities involved. “On Friday we did not do our “Walk the dog campaign” We were washing dogs with children most came with their dogs and others that does not have dogs participated as we educate both children with/without dogs to ensure that we raise a community of ethical human beings that love unconditionally. We were also graced by the presence of the SPCA. As we invited them to come rescue a animal in distress. They were very impressed with our approach to solve problems related to animal cruelty, abuse and negligence. All of our rescues were washed, and we also washed all of their blankets thanks to the Washing machine that was donated” Having everyone develop a love of animals means there is far less cruelty and abuse. As children learn to understand an animal’s needs, they then educate their families too. Part of the perks of being part of the walking club means children get to feed their dogs and get a meal themselves. Tebogo uses this to make sure everyone gets one good meal a week. Tebogo is happy to chat with anyone wanting to get involved. This article originally appeared in GoodThingsGuy HERE

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Dogs and Children in Disadvantaged Communities

  His “walk the dog challenge” initiative taught children that a dog can be more than a pet – a friend and someone they can talk to when situations at the house get difficult.   This is a story of a remarkable young man Tebogo Maredi who lost his job as an operations manager due to retrenchment. He decided to use his time wisely and make a difference in the community of Soshanguve, so he started educating children on how to treat animals – with love, respect and compassion. His “walk the dog challenge” initiative taught children that a dog can be more than a pet – a friend and someone they can talk to when situations at the house get difficult. As Tebogo continued to journey with children he began teaching them that this love can also encourage love between people. By building a relationship with the children, he then realised that these children often go to school on an empty stomach.     This is when he was inspired to start another initiative. It started as a few peanut butter and jam sandwiches but soon transformed into a full-fledged nutrition scheme. Children were walking different routes to their respective schools just to receive something to eat in the mornings, which is often the only meal they eat in the day. Tebogo’s “station” is much more than a place where children receive food and has now grown into a well-established place of comfort, education and safety. Big Box Containers donated a 3×3 Big Box Container to Tebogo so he can serve many more children.     Way to go Tebogo for being an inspiration and helping the children of your community. Photo Credit – Big Box Containers #UniteSA #bigbox #containers #nutritionscheme #uplift #upcycle #community #serve #hope #love #inspire #empower This article originally appeared in Unite SA HERE

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Man Maak Verskil In Sy Woongebied (Man Makes A Difference In His Neighbourhood)

“Ek het eers net vyf honde kos gegee, en toe ek my oë uitvee was daar oor die tweehonderd wat hulp nodig gehad het”   Tebogo Maredi (32) bly in Maboneng, ʼn semi-informele woongebied in Soshanguve, noord van Pretoria. Die dag toe hy daar nesgeskop het, het hy besluit hiér gaan hy ʼn verskil maak. Die armoede in sy woonbuurt het by hom bly spook. Kinders wat soggens op ʼn leë maag skool toe loop, die meeste sonder skoolskoene of uniform. Uitgeteerde honde wat dikwels iewers in ʼn erf vasgeketting sit. Uit sy eie sak het hy begin om soggens broodjies vir honger kinders op pad skool toe uit te deel. Vir sommiges het hy skoolskoene en klere in die hande gekry. “Dit het my getref hoe swaar die mense kry. Ek kon nie staan en toekyk hoe kinders honger skool toe gaan nie. Ek het net geweet ek móét iets doen,” sê Tebogo. Tebogo was een van drie kinders. Hulle het in Seshego grootgeword; ʼn informele nedersetting in Polokwane. Sy ma, ʼn enkelouer, het gesorg dat hulle mae altyd vol was, en dat hulle altyd klere gehad het om aan te trek. Na skool het hy operasionele bestuur by die Seshego Capricorn College studeer. Kort voordat hy Maboneng toe getrek het, het hy sy werk as operasionele bestuurder verloor weens afleggings by die maatskappy waar hy in diens was. Die geld wat hy as werkende jong man gespaar het, het hy begin gebruik om die kinders en diere van Maboneng te help. Van die kinders het hulle honde vir hom gebring. Honger en vol bosluise en vlooie. “Ek het eers net vyf honde kos gegee, en toe ek my oë uitvee was daar oor die tweehonderd wat hulp nodig gehad het,” sê hy. Ellie, die leeu van Maboneng   “Ek wou altyd graag my eie hond hê, maar ek het nooit die moed en selfvertroue gehad om uit te gaan en ʼn hond van my eie aan te neem nie,” vertel Tebogo. Op ʼn dag het ʼn weldoener wat Tebogo al ʼn rukkie ken van sy droom te hore gekom en hom met ʼn pragtige boerboelteef, Ellie, geseën. “Ellie is die beste ding wat met my gebeur het. Ek is ontsettend lief vir haar. Sy is die saggeaardste, liefdevolste dier,” sê Tebogo. “Sy is groot en sterk, maar haar hart is net vol liefde en sagtheid. Baie dae kom die kinders van die dorp hier aan om haar te borsel en met haar te speel. As hulle kom kuier, gebruik ek ook die geleentheid om te vertel hoe ʼn mens vir jou hond moet sorg.” Tebogo stap elke dag met Ellie. Hy vertel aan die begin het die inwoners gedink sy is ʼn leeu. “Die mense hier ken nie sulke groot honde nie. Hulle is gewoond aan kleiner honde,” sê hy. Die mense het ook voortdurend kommentaar gelewer oor hoe mooi, skoon en sonder bosluise Ellie is. Dis ook op die daaglikse uitstappies saam met Ellie wat Tebogo al hoe meer behoefte onder diere begin raaksien het. Honde wat vasgeketting staan. Honger honde, vol parasiete, bosluise en vlooie. Hy moes noodwendig na organisasies uitreik en hulp soek en het self baie kennis oor welsynsdiereorganisasies in sy omgewing ingewin. “Ek het self baie wys geword oor hoe om diere te versorg. Oor die nodigheid en belangrikheid daarvan om diere te steriliseer en in te ent.” Tebogo het ʼn nie-winsgewende organisasie, Inclusive Welfare Services, gestig om op dié manier hulp en befondsing van buite te kry. Hier en daar het mense gehoor van sy goeie werk en skenkings vir kos en ander benodigdhede soos halsbande en leibande gemaak. In samewerking met Temba Dierekliniek in Hammanskraal kon hulle onlangs 204 honde inent en ontwurm. Daar is egter nie ʼn einde aan die nood en behoefte nie, en so het hy voortdurend nog fondse en skenkings nodig. Tebogo sê die beste manier om inwoners en honde-eienaars in te lig en met kennis toe te rus, is om dit in groepsverband te doen. “As ek na individue se huise toe gaan en praat oor hoe verkeerd dit is om ʼn hond aan ʼn ketting te hê, voel die mense baiekeer dat ek hulle persoonlik aanval. As ek egter die gesprekke in groepe doen in ʼn gemeenskaplike ruimte, is dit makliker om hulle te bereik. Ek sien ook dat daar dan gesprekke plaasvind. Mense moedig mekaar aan om die regte ding te doen. Daar is ondersteuning vir mekaar en dis asof hulle dan beter verstaan wat dit is om na diere om te sien. My groot boodskap is altyd: Neem ʼn dier aan eerder as om te koop. Steriliseer, moenie jou hond aan ʼn ketting vasmaak nie, en as jy nie meer vir jou dier kan sorg nie, neem hom na die welsynsorganisasie waar jy hom gekry het terug. Vra vir hulp as jy dit nodig het.” Tebogo sê hoewel hy steeds skoolgaande kinders in die oggende ontbyt gee, is dit moeilik om hulp en befondsing vir dié passie van hom te kry. Dus het sy fokus vir eers na dierewelsyn geskuif. This article originally appeared in Maroela Media HERE

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Soshanguve man encourages residents to love and take care of their dogs

  “If I cannot step in, most dogs will spend their doggy years in misery and always be confined in chains.”   A Soshanguve resident has encouraged residents to love and take of their dogs instead of mistreating them. Tebogo Maredi from Soshanguve, block W, has been assisting community members with washing their dogs, feeding them, helping sick dogs with medication, and advising residents about how to love their dogs. Maredi said he fell in love with dogs after he was given a three-year-old Boerboel named Ellie. He said the dog showed him the kind of love he never had before which made his love for animals grow. “I wash her and take her out for walks on a daily basis and she is properly fed. Everyone is amazed by her size as most people in my block were not familiar with Boerboels,” he said. “When taking her out on walks, we meet very skinny dogs, stray dogs, dogs infested with ticks. I realised that if I cannot step in, most dogs will spend their doggy years in misery, always confined in chains. “I realised something has to change.” Maredi said he then started identifying households with dogs that are kept on leashes, underfed dogs and the ones that are not properly taken care of. “I assist the owners with taking care of the dogs, mostly children as they give me a very good reception and they are able to learn about taking care of dogs. “I used to go from house to house washing dogs and providing them with a bit of dog food, but I was limited by funds,” he said. “ After saving money, on January 15, I hosted an event where I invited community members that have dogs to come to wash them, treat their ear wounds and remove ticks and fleas.” Maredi said some of the challenges he faced are people who keep dogs even though they cannot afford to take care of them. “Some cannot provide the dogs with adequate shelter and I’m always fighting people to keep dogs off a chain.” He said his aim is to educate children and the community about taking care of dogs, nurturing them and giving them the love they deserve. He wants to make sure no dog in his neighbourhood goes to sleep on an empty stomach or is subjected to fending for themselves. Maredi said he would also like to create fun activities for the dogs, owners and their children. “I would love to have an ongoing thing where we provide dogs with dog food every week, washing dogs every weekend and being able to provide dogs with their medication.” He asked anyone who might be able to help him achieve his goal to donate: leashes and collars; dog food; shampoos and sprays to remove ticks; blankets; treats to help teach a dog commands; brushes and cleaning equipment; water and food bowls; medication for dogs; toys for both dogs and children This article originally appeared in the Rekord Newspaper HERE 

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