The country’s first charity online web portal for all things related to animal welfare, www.paweverpals.com, was launched on August 21 at the recently-concluded TEDx Colombo conference. The site’s creators, Shanuki de Alwis and Andre Perera, both passionate voluntary animal welfare supporters, built the portal with the objective of connecting all Sri Lanka’s animal charities, resources and suppliers under one convenient umbrella, to make it easy for anyone and everyone across the world to access information on how they can support animal welfare initiatives in the country.
The first phase of the site was soft-launched at this year’s TEDx Colombo conference where Shanuki was a speaker. “We thought the conference would be an ideal place to launch the site because the theme of this year’s TEDx Colombo was ‘Blueprint for Change’, and this is our way of trying to initiate positive change for animal welfare in Sri Lanka”, said Shanuki.“The organizers very generously agreed to give us a social space outside the speaking area where the site was up and running, and we encouraged people to sign up and get the ball rolling. The majority of participants at TEDx are a generation that’s seeking new learning and inspiration to create a better world. We felt therefore, that it would be the ideal forum for us to introduce Pawever Pals.”
Visitors can use the site to find out how to adopt or foster rescue animals, donate towards animal charities, volunteer at animal welfare projects and get involved in the cause by increasing awareness through sharing info, petitions and on-going campaigns on their own networks. Users sign up and fill forms, where the details go into a database that animal welfare charities can access whenever a need arises. The site also features a directory of the different services related to animals that are currently available in Sri Lanka—boarding kennels, shelters, vets and pet supply stores, encouraging a greater collective community working towards the cause, instead of just the ad-hoc individual pocket groups that are currently available on social media.
“We’ve found that whilst there are many animal charities and voluntary groups doing a lot of great things in Sri Lanka, all of them rely solely on their individual social media presence and occasional self-PR to get public support,” says Andre. “Most animal charities are run by young volunteers who are always desperately in need of support, and it’s only people who know of their existence who come forward to help. We realized that this doesn’t really help the bigger picture, because then you have so many smaller charities that are doing good work, giving up and shutting down because they don’t have enough solutions. Then there’s the issue of many people not coming forward to help animal charities at all because they’re under the impression that unless you are able to adopt, there’s nothing else you can do, which is completely wrong. Anyone and everyone can make a big difference in the smallest and most convenient of ways.
Shanuki and Andre invite everyone to visit www.paweverpals.com and be a part of making Sri Lanka a more compassionate country for animals.