Santa CLAWs comes to Syferbult, South Africa

Santa ClAW

“They know that Santa's on his way
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh…”

The little community of Syferbult is desperately poor. It’s far from the work opportunities and busy streets of eGoli, as the city of Johannesburg is known, even though it only takes an hour to get there from here.

A Syferbult home is a shack cobbled together from corrugated iron and bits and pieces, and water must be collected from a tanker.

Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) comes to Syferbult regularly to treat the animals that live here, and inevitably ended up helping the people with whom the animals live.

The children of Syferbult don’t see a new toy from one year end to the next.

So when CLAW arrived, a week before Christmas 2015, on a day when huge thunderclouds were building up in the sky overhead, word sped round the township in nanoseconds, and the children gathered at their gates.

Santa’s sleigh was overloaded with goodies – an apple, a treat and a toy for each child – but still there wasn’t enough. (CLAW returned to fill up the gaps a few days later, having sent a call out to generous friends and donors for ‘more toys, especially balls!’)

The gifts caused great excitement (even when the little recipient wasn’t quite sure what it was (Frisbees are an unknown, and the kids had to be shown how to play with them.

The boys lost no time in putting their soccer balls to use.

And the girls delighted in the refurbished Barbies a kind friend of CLAW had laboured over, cleaning them up and giving them new home-sewn clothes so they looked brand-spanking new.

Happy holidays from CLAW.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy