A life-long childhood dream come true
Salima, (or Sally), daughter of a Moroccan father and a British mother, grew up in Morocco, and witnessed the horrors many animals had to go through living in the streets. It was then quite common to kill street animals, in order to control the population and the spread of diseases. “When I was eight, I was feeding a lot of strays. Someone called the authorities and they poisoned them,” Salima told NBC News. “As a child I wanted to take all of the strays home. There are so many of them. So as an adult, I did it,” she adds. “I don’t want to die alone and neither should they.”
A woman with the heart of a lion
Salima believes every life is precious, and is devoting her life fully to saving those in need. She currently has over 500 animals at her sanctuary, but is also responsible for another 500 that live outside the sanctuary in the streets of Morocco – she and her dedicated team feed and provide medical treatment to a total of 1000 animals a day.
Salima has two main goals. The first is to eradicate rabies in the dog population. In order to do this, she has set up the ‘Hayat’ program. This program consists in SFT taking in, treating, vaccinating, neutering, and identifying animals with a yellow ear tag before returning them to their territories, where they can safely protect the surrounding areas from any un-vaccinated animals.
Salima's second goal is to educate the public. She spends much time travelling around the country, presenting her work in neighbourhoods, schools and universities, showing people how to correctly proceed when they find a sick or injured animal in the streets. “We’re changing mentalities,” she says. “We’re making them realize how precious dogs are.” And Salima really is changing things. More and more members of the public are bringing animals in need into the Sanctuary; even authorities have signed conventions prohibiting the killing of any stray dogs carrying the yellow tag, and agreed to start subsidizing the project.
An uphill battle
Salima is constantly posting her rescue stories on SFT’s Facebook and asking for donations from the public, her main resource for funding her incredible projects. But no challenge is too great for this incredibly strong-willed and awe-inspiring woman.
‘Sally’ is a true angel, even keeping handicapped animals, who all sleep with her in the bedroom at night. "Its like having babies", she smiles, "but its worth it".