Seeing the suffering of homeless street animals, Svetlana Hunt founded the Lucky Hunt Foundation in 2015. The organisation saves abused and neglected homeless animals from the streets of Bulgaria, implements spay/neuter campaigns to control the population and offers educational programmes for children to foster respect and positive perception towards dogs and other vulnerable animals. She speaks to Kind Luxury how she got involved, what her major challenges are and what keeps her going.
|PHILANTHROPIC FOCUS||Rescuing animals and educate children about fair treatment of animals|
QUOTE YOU LIVE
YOUR LIFE BY
'Patience is a virtue'...a saying from a poem
|ROLE MODEL||I don't have one - I have not seen a perfect person yet. When I see a quality in a person that I like, I use it to better my game :)|
How did you come up with the idea of setting up the Lucky Hunt Foundation (LHF)?
The unconditional love for animals was gifted to me by my mother - I have lived with them all my life.
In 2009, I decided that I wanted to rescue dogs which were on the list to be euthanised at the government dog shelter in Los Angeles. My idea was to buy a large plot of land in Desert Springs and take the 'death row' dogs to my private shelter to then hopefully get adopted from there. I registered a non profit foundation called the 'Hunt Animal Sanctuary' in California and found the property, but unfortunately it did not happen there and then circumstances required me to spend more time in Bulgaria. And with that I have focused all my energy to help animals in Bulgaria where the situation is just as bad.
The laws in Bulgaria are basically kind to animals as they don't have euthanasia strongly enforced, however I saw misery on every corner and a real big need for me to help them.
My husband Philippe has supported my idea and together we spent many hours researching on how to help suffering and over population of homeless animals living on the streets.
It was clear to us that massive spay/neuter campaigns were the only solution.
We knew it would not be easy but we also knew that we are a team who loves a good challenge and we are definitely not afraid of hard work, therefore Lucky Hunt Foundation Bulgaria (LHF) was born. All with our own money!
Why is the main focus on animals?
LHF started with the main focus on animals as animals have no voice and suffer beyond our understanding. Animals are our responsibility because we have put them on this earth to be Man's best friend but instead many of us are irresponsible to them and mistreat them in the most unkind ways.
Shortly into our journey we realised a great potential of connecting children with animals as together they are the perfect synergy and the bright hope for the future.
Today, we have school teachers and psychologists on board who are creating interactive educational programmes to connect animals and children to bring happiness and help to each another.
As of May this year we will start ''Hands On' a children's workshops at our LHF Farm. There, we have a large variety of animals for children to interact with and care for while learning valuable information about kindness to animals and the importance of our green planet and the environment we live in.
As of September, we will take our educational program directly into the classrooms of schools.
So we are definitely not only an animal based organisation, but an important basic tool for a 'better society'....
The foundation has launched a number of great initiatives such as education and fostership programmes, LHF veterinary hospital and Lucky Hunt Farm. Which of the projects are the most memorable for you?
Opening the door to my little clinic and employing my first veterinarian brought me many happy tears....
I started with a simple spay/neuter clinic which has grown into a fully equipped animal hospital to serve homeless street animals for free.
Today, LHF has three locations: hospital, cage-less shelter and an animal rescue farm. Besides that, we have built a fully equipped mobile clinic which we use to do spay/neuter campaigns in hard to reach areas.
How could people get involved and support the Lucky Hunt projects?
We are in great need of 'hands on' volunteers: be they animal lovers to come out to help care for and play with animals, or be they veterinarians who can contribute their special skills to many injured animals in our care or to help during our spay and neuter campaigns. Or people who can donate funds to help more animals get rescued, housed and fed.
I feel very fortunate that I am able to work and finance my dream alone up until now. Having said that - there is a limit to what one person can do. There is a saying: “If you want to walk fast, walk alone; if you want to walk far, walk together”.
I have zero need or intention to make money out of what I and my husband have created.
But our goal is to definitely make it self sustainable and attract 'like minded' people to join us and
help in our initiatives - together we can create miracles and provide boundless joy to humanity.
How big is the LHF team?
LHF has a solid team of 27 people who work daily, of which some, I am proud to say, are volunteers.
What challenges did you face during your philanthropic journey?
I did not face challenges - I am facing challenges every day!
These are my top 5 replies that gets my blood boiling!
1. "I don't care mentality"
2. "I can't change the world so why bother, someone else will do it"
3. "It is the governments responsibility"
4. Laziness but very opinionated with lots of criticism
5. "She is rich so she can do it herself"
Has your charity involvement changed you as a person?
Yes, it opened up my eyes that not everybody is as kind as I thought so all my life.
My work has made me more tired, irritable, angrier... but even more kinder and even more motivated to continue with my projects.
Discovering the hidden goodness in many tiny corners is the greatest joy.
If you could turn back time, would you do something differenly?
One can't turn back time. I am a realist and an optimist who knows that everything happens for a reason and at its own pace. You can always realise that you could have done something different - so you still have time to just do it now!
What are the future plans of LHF?
Growing to be even stronger and more efficient in changing peoples mentality to be more responsible towards the unnecessary birth of animals doomed to suffer. Promoting spaying and neutering homeless street animals and making sure the animals which have an owner, don't multiply needlesly contributing to this huge global problem. And building more platforms for rescuing animals and connecting them to children.
How does your typical day look like?
I am a workaholic - I don't want to leave this earth as a number who just lived for herself - to eat well, look well, dress well, travel well..... I want to make a difference - for that you need to work hard.
But I plan to give myself more 'me time' as soon as I feel I have built a strong platform.
If you would like to learn more about LHF and the work that they do visit luckyhunt.org or search for luckyhuntprojects on Facebook and Instagram.