We send greetings from Symi island to all our friends and supporters wherever you all may be as this year draws to a close.
During the past 12 months SAW has had to deal with some changes and challenges but we are pleased to announce that all has been resolved and our team is continuing with the good work as before for the street cats of Symi.
The winter feeding programme was all organised and 'ready to roll' in November and we have 18 volunteers covering 24 feeding stations around the port area, the village, in Pedi and in the mountains of Symi, so the island's cats can look forward to 2 or 3 feeds every week to help them survive the winter months.
We are very pleased this year to have 'recruited' some more local Greek volunteers, including the island's dentist, a retired sea captain, a female employee of the Symi town hall, and a monastery caretaker who lives in a remote area and feeds 27 cats every day!
We would like to thank our suppliers, Xatzipetros Supermarket in Yialo, Sotiris Supermarket in Chorio and Valandis Animal Feed Depot in Chorio for their kind co operation with SAW and for bringing all our cat food order of tins, sacks of biscuits and pasta from Rodos and Thessaloniki.
In late 2015 we had to say goodbye to Melanie Sharp, our secretary of many years, who is now in the UK with her husband. We would like to thank her very much for all her hard work and dedication and we hope to see her and Paul return to Symi early next year.
We are pleased to inform you all that we have a new team member. Her name is Antonella Zingali, she is a Symi resident, fluent in English and Greek and is very committed to caring for the animals of the island. With her enthusiasm and new ideas, she is a most welcome addition to our small team of volunteers.
The SAW team will now consist of the following members:
Tove Kolle (Denmark) vet visit co -ordinator and host for the vet surgery at her house in upper Chorio.
Christina Stierle (Germany) medical supplies co-ordinator and first aid help in animal emergencies.
Antonella Zingali, (Italy) SAW co-ordinator for emails and correspondence and reports all year round.
Suzan Rashid (UK) SAW co-ordinator for WFP, emails and correspondence, SAW reports, drugs and medical supplies and SAW accounts.
Hazel Fennelly (UK) SAW Deputy Treasurer and medical advisor.
Claudia Kolhofer (Austria) animal first aid in emergencies.
We feel that our team has a truly international flavour and between us we speak at least 7 languages!
The autumn season so far on Symi has been mild and very dry so the island's cats have been seen out and about enjoying the winter sunshine, gathering at the feeding stations, (usually located near the rubbish bins) and, as there has been hardly any rain yet, all cats really welcome a bowl of fresh water to drink. Anything that holds water will do, an empty margarine or ice cream container, which can be nailed to a lampost or tree trunk (prevents it being taken by the wind!).
Yes, we do rely on all volunteers for these tasks, awareness of animal needs is an important part of our job! We plan to do more 'monitoring' this winter of all the feeding stations and other areas. Antonella and myself will be going around in my sturdy little red jeep and on foot, to keep an eye on the Symi cats and look out for their health and welfare throughout the colder months of the year.
We continue to work with the vets of Rodos and have an arrangement with one vet for the neutering of cats which volunteers take over on the ferry. SAW provides the cat boxes and covers all costs of the surgery.
We would like to thank vet Marika Ioannou for all her expertise and for working with us to ensure a more heathly cat population on Symi.
We have recently purchased a stock of drugs and medications to renew our supplies in preparation for the months ahead.
We have requested with the "9 Lives" Charity for the possibility of a Vet Visit in April 2016 so we hope to have positive news early next year.
Finally, we rely entirely on donations and the generous support of our friends and benefactors in many countries to enable us to continue with our work to help all the street cats of Symi island.
We would like to thank everyone who has given so generously to SAW in 2015 and we wish you all a very good winter, "Kalo Ximonas" as we say in Greek, and we hope to see you all again on Symi next year!
Best wishes from Suzan and all the Symi Animal Welfare Team.