Donkey Sanctuary celebrates 21 years of work in Kenya

By Amanda Stevenson

Event diary

04 July 2008 15:16

Today (July 4) the Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary is holding a special 21st anniversary celebration at its centre on Lamu Island, Kenya, where donkeys are more popular than cars.

The ‘Independence Day for the Lamu Donkeys’ event is being held by the charity’s workers who help care and protect the 2,000 donkeys living on the island; the town’s streets are too narrow for cars and therefore, only two vehicles are believed to exist.

Amongst the celebrations, attended by the charity’s staff, religious leaders and locals, will be a special dance called an ‘Uta’ and a show depicting how life can be easier if owners care for their donkeys properly.

Abdalla Rifai, who runs the Lamu Sanctuary, says: “This is a very special celebration for me as I have been involved since the very first day when the Sanctuary’s Founder, Dr Elisabeth Svendsen visited to look for donkeys. 

I have seen many changes over the years and one of our successes is that we have helped reduce the traditional practice of bleeding a donkey, or burning them with hot irons to treat illness; now donkey owners come to us for help.”

The Donkey Sanctuary’s project in Lamu and surrounding islands costs up to £74,000 to run each year and it relies entirely on donations to continue work there. 

For further information, visit or telephone 01395 578222 for a fact sheet.