Adrienne Olivier: Professional Dog Trainer and Canine Behaviourist
Co-founder of Funda Nenja and Training Supervisor
As a volunteer education officer and founder of the uMngeni SPCA annual Township Dog Show, I came to realise that the best way to effectively teach township dog owners how to care for their animals was via a hands on approach. Through my own personal experience of working with dogs, I knew that in the process of training a dog, a very special bond and deeper relationship is developed. The dog is more valued and respected and the qualities of compassion and empathy are brought to the fore. I believe very strongly in the work of Funda Nenja and have witnessed the positive impact it has made in the lives of our learners. Their attitudes towards their animals and the people around them have visibly changed for the better.
Yvonne Spain: Retired children right’s activist
I attended Rhodes University where I obtained a Certificate in Secretarial Practice in 1970. Over the years, this qualification enabled me to work in commerce in South Africa, the UK and the USA. During the 80s I became a buyer – first in fashion chain store, and then in fast moving consumer goods for a catering wholesaler. In the 90s I moved into the NGO sector where I became an HIV/AIDS, human rights and children’s rights activist. I was elected to the Pietermaritzburg City Council as an Independent Councillor where I served for 5 years. In 1999 I joined the Children in Distress Network (CINDI), retiring as Director in 2009. I continue to assist a number of NGOs on a freelance basis – stepping in in an administrative capacity during transition periods or staff shortages where my strategic thinking, report writing and proof reading skills have been drawn upon.
Funda Nenja is certainly the most inspiring children’s programme I have ever worked with. While the children enjoy themselves at training sessions and nurture the emotional bonds with their dogs they acquire life skills like leadership, conflict resolution and team work. Furthermore, through the intervention of our Auxiliary Social Worker and links with other children’s rights organisations, we can change their lives – one dog at a time.
Volunteer veterinary nurse at Funda Nenja
Christine is from Germany, she came with with her family to work as Missionary’s in South Africa. We are extremely lucky to have her since Christine is a trained veterinary nurse and began her service with Funda Nenja in October 2015.
Winnie Sangcosi: Domestic assistant
Gate keeper and community liaison at Funda Nenja
Winnie has been with Funda Nenja since its inception in 2009. She has the nickname ‘Sergeant Major’ for her strict but loving motherly role. Initially she was an instructor for six months but then changed to her now well-known position as gate keeper. This is an important role as she makes sure the dogs are in good condition and gets to know all the children. As she says, ‘I check the collars on the dogs, dogs that are not well. If kids have a problem, I talk to their mother and tell them at home’. Winnie loves the dogs; she says the dogs are her passion, they are ‘my sport’. Winnie says the most important thing she wants at Funda Nenja training sessions is happy people; ‘It doesn’t matter if something is wrong at home, leave it, come here. Get help. Speak about it’. She doesn’t like people who hurt dogs.
Israel Silevu- Employee at FreeMe KZN
Instructor and instructor liaison at Funda Nenja
Israel works at Free Me KZN and heard about Funda Nenja from Ros Marais of FreeMe who spoke to Yvonne Spain, a Funda Nenja committee member. He was interested in joining and started as an instructor in June 2013. He instructs about 20 children in Adult 2A which is the first class up from the Beginner Classes. He enjoys the work and in particular working with the children. He says his favourite part is ‘socializing with the kids and helping them develop a relationship with their animals.’ In his lessons, Israel says he teaches the children how ‘to handle their dog properly’. He also emphasises naming a dog and calling it by its name and ‘to treat their dogs like themselves at home’. He says the children must love their dogs and ‘practise a good relationship’. He also says it is very important that they talk to their animals.
Co-founder and trainer at Funda Nenja
Heather co-founded Funda Nenja with Adrienne Olivier. Having worked with the Umgeni SPCA for many years, Funda Nenja is delighted to welcome Heather home.