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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 31, Dated 06 Aug 2011


Jean and Bob Harrison, 70 and 68
Shanti Niketan, Gurgaon

Cecile Nicod

'Donkeys had a vital role in building schools, malls and stations you see…”

Photo: Vijay Pandey

It all started when Jean was working in old Delhi shelters and saw injured donkeys being forced to labour on construction sites. With Bob’s pension as starting capital, the couple founded The Asswin Project in 2005 in New Delhi. Their shelter near Gurgaon is a refuge for donkeys and even horses that have been injured, mal-treated or are simply weary. “Not many donkeys are in shelters, because they have been driven to the ground,” says Bob, as he drives his Maruti minibus, which doubles up as a donkey ambulance. Initially, Jean and Bob had set up a mobile clinic, working 24 hours on call. They began harbouring donkeys in the Jeevashram Shelter, but numbers grew until they had to keep them in their residence. Their indignant neighbours led them to seek help from the local municipal corporation and the commissioner allocated them a piece of land for a shelter. Today, they keep about 50 donkeys and a horse in a barn surrounded by green grazing land while they wait for their own shelter to be finished. The couple currently relies on funds from the Ford Foundation, individual donors and animal-lover groups.

Jean and Bob can be contacted at +91 – 9810164214.


RK Vishwajit, 36
Kedar Nath Mandal, 76
Dawood Vaid, 33

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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 31, Dated 06 Aug 2011



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