School and Youth Project Barbados
Visit in St. James (April 2023)
Karen Whittaker, the tireless director of the Ocean Acres Animal Sanctuary, welcomes not only school classes at Ocean Acres but also visits children and adolescents in their communities, accompanied by friendly four-legged helpers from the sanctuary.
In April she started a new youth project in St. James, a parish northwest of Bridgetown with about 30.000 residents. She met with the kids at the community center. They had a lot of questions,…
…Karen answered them all and the children listened just as attentively as during Petra Bellamy’s school lessons.
At the moment Karen Whittaker struggles to get the funding for a community structure and new washrooms at Ocean Acres to improve the possibilities to welcome and teach school classes at the sanctuary.
During her trip to Germany Petra Bellamy will meet our president in May in Munich.
November - December 2022 (12/27/2022)
In September 2021 Barbados went again into a lock down and the schools stayed closed during winter '22. Also the youth project of the Ocean Acres Animal Sanctuary had to be put on hold. Schools re-opened after the summer hoiidays '22.
In November Petra Bellamy taught again for the first time.
„Longtime friend of the school, Ms. Petra Bellamy, visited our upper Primary classes today to speak about animal welfare. Ms. Petra has a long association with the Ocean Acres Animal Sanctuary on the east coast of Barbados and visits Codrington every year to share her vast knowledge and experience with our students. Unfortunately we haven’t seen Ms. Petra for two years due to the Covid restrictions so it was great to welcome her back to our classrooms today.“
„Ms. Petra spoke about local lizards, worms, birds, fish and the famous green monkeys of Barbados. Her information and experience with the monkeys was very enlightening for our students, particularly in regard to their behaviour, their feelings, and the perils of humans interacting with them.“
Visit at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve: Besides Petra’s animal welfare lessons and the field trips to Ocean Acres the Codrington School offers their pupils also an educational program concerning nature and environment.
Petra Bellamy wants to retire in the coming years but not before our long-cherished dream has come true: Her former pupils shall continue her work and teach the younger children. This way the knowledge about animal care and welfare will be handed down from generation to generation guaranteeing the continuation of the project. As usual Codrington School leads the way. They have already a youth project directed by Ms Caroline.
…and taught younger kids how to treat animals properly at the same time.
In January Petra Bellamy will visit the Codrington School on 3 afternoons and teach her former students the school program; this time from the teacher’s – not the pupil’s - point of view.
She will also visit the other schools one by one. Some of them have new principals who are not familiar with Petra’s project so she will have to do some groundwork. She will also introduce Karen Whittaker, Ocean Acres‘ president, and her team to the schools because they shall direct the school program in the future. Also the Ocean Acres Animal Sanctuary youth project started up again in November.
The program is ambitous:
„The OAYG, the Ocean Acres Youth Group – is a new kids club to promote and encourage a kind and caring mentality towards all living creatures and the world around us. We aim to build a community of young individuals with a passion to make positive change. To educate and empower, share ideas and work together towards creating a happy, healthy, brighter future for us all. We are at the stage of start-up and are looking to recruit members.
To educate and share information about care and kindness towards all animals
Fundraising to help Ocean Acres continue to care for rescue dogs and cats
To educate and promote the importance of neutering animals and fundraise to support The Spay & Neuter Program
To champion animal welfare and encourage others to do the same
This includes reporting animal abuse – if you see something, say something!
This includes educating ourselves and others on the proper care of pets and also farm animals
To educate on healthy living in an eco-friendly environment
What We Offer:
A Join and Welcome pack
Animal Care and Welfare training, education courses and demonstrations
Training videos, activities, competitions, quizzes and assignments
Based on a points system: achievement certificates and badges on completion of various educational activities and accomplishments
Youth Group annual celebrations
A chance to have your say: via our Newsletter, Website and Social Media Marketing
All of the above will be outlined on our website in a staged monthly learning course format. The OAYG and its various activities are designed to be age-appropriate.
Each Member (will be required to)
Volunteer a minimum of 4 hours per month (multiple days or in consecutive hours)
Attend and participate in at least 2 fundraising events per year
Attend and participate in monthly meetings either in person or via video call
Submit a photo to be included in marketing and to appear in videos and promotional incentives
Who can be in the OAYG?
Children aged 6 to 16 (children under the age of 11 are to be accompanied by an adult)
Locals and visitors are ALL WELCOME!
For children who can’t attend in-person, you can still be an OAYG Member by completing home tasks and assignments
Our CORE VALUES
A KIND AND HONEST HEART
NEVER GIVE UP ATTITUDE
ACCOUNTABILITY & RESPONSIBILITY
EDUCATION FOR OURSELVES AND OTHERS
SERVICE AND HARD WORK
The benefits of being an OAYG Member
Interact and play with lots of amazing animals
Make new friends: be part of a group with other like-minded children
Experience new people, opportunities and environments
Learn to achieve, share and appreciate your knowledge, talents and abilities
Have fun taking part in activities and learning new skills
Find an interest in working with animals in the future – job opportunities: Pet Trainer, Pet Groomer, Vet, Veterinary Tech/Assistant, Kennel Assistant, Dog Walker, Pet-Sitter and much more…“
For us this means that another dream comes true: The further integration of children and adolescents into animal welfare after the 3 years school program of Petra Bellamy and we will do everything we can to support this project.
In spring 22 Ocean Acres had asked us for financial aid to allow children to visit the sanctuary whose parents and schools don’t have the means to pay for the transportation and we were very happy to donate 1000 Euro for this cause. In December these field trips started.
On the 8th of December 55 eight year old pupils of the St. Winifred’s Primary School visited Ocean Acres with 3 teachers and an assistant. They brought food donations for the animals.
Questions were asked, such as: „Who of you has an animal ; what kind of animal? Do you know how a happy/unhappy dog behaves?“ A role play followed where the children play-acted as happy or sad dogs.
Then the groups switched and the next one had a lesson. The kids had also the opportunity to walk a dog.
At the end Trudy Whitehead and Karen Whittaker held a little speech and said Good Bye to the children. The kids were asked to paint a picture of their visit. Ocean Acres will post the paintings in their social media.
The visit lasted from 8:30 to 12:30. Then the bus came and the children had to leave. They will never forget these 5 hours and surely some of them will join the Ocean Acres youth club.
Also for the pupils of the St. Luke’s Acadamy this day will stay unforgettable!
Many of them had never touched an animal before. They learnt a lot this day about the right behaviour around animals. It was a great day for the kids with lots of activities, games and fun. And the dogs and cats of Ocean Acres, the stars of the show, behaved impeccably.
The entire Ocean Acres team is looking forward to the next visit of these children!
March 2020 – August 2021(09/12/2021)
Schools were closed on Barbados from the middle of March til the end of September 2020 because of Corona. On the 18th of October 20 the Providence School and the Learning Center told Petra Bellamy that she could teach again after the autumn vacations.
Petra Bellamy wrote: “ Today was my first day at Providence since the lock-down in March. 2 third grade classes this morning. The children were very happy that the Animal Care program started again. We had a lot of fun despite masks and distances. There are restrictions but everybody was in a great mood. After finishing one class I have to return to the principle’s office and wait to be taken to the next class room. Masks and keeping distance are obligatory. During breaks the children stay in the classroom and eat there. Masks can be loosened or taken of as long as the distance can be kept. It is not easy to teach wearing a mask; at times I almost have to yell so that everybody can understand me but somehow it works. Some kids wear their masks all the time. Rooms are not closed; windows and doors are always open. Topic in the third grade is “How fo I treat pets and how do I become a good pet owner”.
Also at the Learning Center everybody was happy about Petra’s return.
The children were delighted despite masks and restrictions…
…and very concentrated.
In November 20 Petra Bellamy taught also at the Codrington School.
All children must wear masks when they work together and the distance can’t be kept.
On November 27th the Codrington pupils could visit the Ocean Acres Animal Sanctuary.
To minimize the contact to humans…
...they visited only the cats’ enclosures this time…
…which they can enter without adults.
Shortly after this field trip the next lock-down began which lasted til spring 21.
05/14/2021 Petra Bellamy wrote:
„Yesterday I was back at Codrington for the first time since the Covid lock-down in 2021. A group of children have started a project about animal welfare and shelters on Barbados. They want to participate in a presentation in June.“
„They have asked me to help them with the project. Each of them had a long list with questions concerning various topics of animal welfare that I answered. Their interest was immense. After this session 3 of the pupils wanted to volunteer at Ocean Acres Sanctuary and others wanted to adopt. A further success of our educational program!“
Petra‘s first pupils are slowly becoming adolescents with own ideas and the wish to make a change – that’s what we had hoped for!
The day of the presentation…!
The participating children were divided in groups that had all worked on different subjects; environmental protection, social relations…
…and Petra Bellamy‘s students of course animal welfare.
The children had researched very extensively and detailed.
The topics comprised the global extinction of species - showing exact statistics …
…and causes – just as much as the protection of domesticated animals.
The children had particularly looked into the problems shelters have; internationally as well as on Barbados, and had come to the conclusion that all shelters have similar problems: When overcrowded, they become either killing pounds or run the risk that more animals get abandoned because they can’t be taken in anymore.
They had interviewed staff members of the local shelters and asked them questions about their work, the average number of animals taken in, ways of regaining the trust of abused animals and the general situation in the 3 shelters on Barbados; Ocean Acres, The Ark and the RSPCA.
The result was a detailed graphic showing size/space, number of staff and volunteers, veterinary care, amount of donations and number of annual adoptions of the 3 shelters and an appeal to donate pet food and toys.
The presentation of the animal welfare group was a great success.
2021 is the first year where children who have been taught by Petra Bellamy since 2018 have completed the animal care program and that brings up the question of how to continue if we want not only to teach empathy and love for animals but also raise future animal welfare activists. Ocean Acres plan a youth project that shall start on September 26th with an open day, including lectures about animal welfare relevant topics, and have created a lovely video as introduction:
Our task is now to make sure also the pupils of public schools to join field trips and participate in this program because the public schools don’t have the means to rent small busses, vans or large taxis to transport the children. It is our goal to educate children from all social classes to become animal lovers and animal welfare activists in order to improve the situation for the animals on Barbados sustainably.
At the moment the number of Corona infections is on the rise again on Barbados and we don’t know what the fall will bring for Petra Bellamy’s animal care program at the schools or the youth outreach project of the Ocean Acres Sanctuary.
3 years already Petra Bellamy teaches now in 9 schools of Barbados - 4 public schools, 4 private schools and a learning center for disabled children with need for special learning aid. The school year on Barbados is divided into 3 terms, the first term begins in September and runs ‘til the Christmas holidays, the second starts in January and lasts ‘til Easter and the third begins after the Easter holidays and runs ‘til the summer vacation in June.
Here the most current photos of some of the schools from the first term 2020:
All Saints, a public school. Petra Bellamy comments: „This year we have admitted first graders for the first time into the program. The girls, called "the blossoms" were really enthusiastic when I showed them a film about humanity towards animals, one another and the environment“
„Afterwardfs they painted…“
„and the result was given as a gift to other pupils as sign of humanitiy. The girls loved it and understood quickly what it means to treat animals, people and the environment with respect and care.”
Providence, a private school.
Also here the pupils love Petra’s films.
And also they get an exercise to do after watching the film.
The picture shows dogs and cats in various situations around Roy’s Market; on the street, endangered by traffic, tied to a light pole or locked up in cars with the windows closed… The task: Find the mistakes in the picture; choose a pet and draw how it is treated properly.
The children of the public school St. Silas…
…had similar tasks to solve.
At St. Judes, also a pubic school…
…there is evidently no lack of computers.
The Learning Center, a private school for children with disabilities and the need for special learning support.
Petra Bellamy has many friends here…
The curriculum ist he same as at other schools…
…with the computer…
…and on paper…
…the children paint…
…and fill in. And learn at the same time the importance of a „Daily Dose of Kindness“ for humans and for animals.
The friendly cool penguin is ready…
…and every child…
…proudly presents an own version of the cool bird.
All are looking forward to the next lesson.
Great changes at The Hope Sanctuary!
The Hope Animal Sanctuary, so closely tied to our school project, where Dr. Katja Schirren spayed and neutered 2016 has experienced great changes
In December 2019 Cornelia and George Coulthrust, the founder of this beautiful and unique shelter, retired. Since 2003 they had fought to find, build up and maintain this wonderful sanctuary where so many mistreated animals have found a home. Regularly they reached the brink of bancruptcy but found always a way and new sponsors to insure the upkeep of the shelter at least for some time. Now the fate of The Hope seemed to be sealed. But the animals there must have a guardian angel! A new group under the chairing of Karen Whittaker has taken over The Hope which is now called Ocean Acres Animal Sanctuary. Visiting their web site one quickly notices that they are battling the same financial problems as the former Hope Sanctuary. Homes are sought urgently for dogs and cats, some of which are already quite old and all possible efforts are made to raise donations and find sponsors. We hope very much that they will succeed in maintaining the sanctuary permanently.
Soon after taking over the Ocean Acres team visited Codrington , the first school to participate in Petra Bellamy’s school program and the first to make a field trip to The Hope in 2018. Since then the pupils of Codrington have organized annual food donation campaigns for the sanctuary.
Now the dogs came to visit…
There couldn’t have been a greater pleasure for kids!
Happily smiling faces everywhere… …joyful children… …and joyful dogs! Of course there was going tob e a re-visit at the Ocean Acres but the children didn’t want to come empty-handed. They baked cakes and cookies and organized a bake sale Here some of their products… The sale was a success. The kids took in 320 Barbadian Doilars. Petra Bellamy comments: „These students are the result of our 3 years "Educational Program" at the schools of Barbados. These junior-high students are the former elementary school pupils who have learned through our program how important it is to support the island’s animal shelters. Even though we thought in the beginning that the children in private schools wouldn’t actually need lecturing in proper animal treatment and care, admitting them to our program has helped to implement it also in public schools. The private schools opened their doors first, the public schools followed. In addition we receive also financial support from the families of private school pupils who believe in our program.”
And as always they insisted to carry everything themselves. After delivering the donations lengthy cuddling followed… …equally enjoyed by kids and dogs. Petra Bellamy: „The director of the Codrington School confirmed his support for the sanctuary. Annual donation campaigns and school projects are planned.” When Ocean Acres, formerly The Hope Animal Sanctuary, survives then the school program of Petra Bellamy will have certainly added to that, not just by current donation campaigns: These children will pass on to their own kids and grandchildren what they learned about animals; and pupils from schools like Codrington will hold influential, decision-making positions one day in the society of Barbados. They will support animal welfare on their island and change the face of Barbados. Presently though they have to live with the same restrictions as children everywhere in the world. Due to Corona the schools closed one week before the Easter holidays and most likely won’t open before the end of the school year. Since May 5th there are home schooling lessons online. Barbados runs a strict course against Corona: 24 hours curfew started one month ago. People are only allowed to go shopping twice a week, either in the morning or in the afternoon, regulated by family names. Barbados has so far 82 registered Corona cases and 7 or 8 deaths. In September the new school year begins in Barbados as in many other places. As in 2018 a summer camp took place also this year during the school vacation; this time not initiated by the police for endangered adolescents but by Petra Bellamy herself for a very special reason:
Happily smiling faces everywhere…
…and joyful dogs!
Of course there was going tob e a re-visit at the Ocean Acres but the children didn’t want to come empty-handed.
They baked cakes and cookies and organized a bake sale
Here some of their products…
The sale was a success. The kids took in 320 Barbadian Doilars.
Petra Bellamy comments: „These students are the result of our 3 years "Educational Program" at the schools of Barbados. These junior-high students are the former elementary school pupils who have learned through our program how important it is to support the island’s animal shelters. Even though we thought in the beginning that the children in private schools wouldn’t actually need lecturing in proper animal treatment and care, admitting them to our program has helped to implement it also in public schools. The private schools opened their doors first, the public schools followed.
In addition we receive also financial support from the families of private school pupils who believe in our program.”
And as always they insisted to carry everything themselves.
After delivering the donations lengthy cuddling followed…
…equally enjoyed by kids and dogs.
Petra Bellamy: „The director of the Codrington School confirmed his support for the sanctuary. Annual donation campaigns and school projects are planned.”
When Ocean Acres, formerly The Hope Animal Sanctuary, survives then the school program of Petra Bellamy will have certainly added to that, not just by current donation campaigns: These children will pass on to their own kids and grandchildren what they learned about animals; and pupils from schools like Codrington will hold influential, decision-making positions one day in the society of Barbados. They will support animal welfare on their island and change the face of Barbados. Presently though they have to live with the same restrictions as children everywhere in the world. Due to Corona the schools closed one week before the Easter holidays and most likely won’t open before the end of the school year. Since May 5th there are home schooling lessons online. Barbados runs a strict course against Corona: 24 hours curfew started one month ago. People are only allowed to go shopping twice a week, either in the morning or in the afternoon, regulated by family names. Barbados has so far 82 registered Corona cases and 7 or 8 deaths.
In September the new school year begins in Barbados as in many other places. As in 2018 a summer camp took place also this year during the school vacation; this time not initiated by the police for endangered adolescents but by Petra Bellamy herself for a very special reason:
Petra Bellamy had heard that the community Bakers Woods had problems with wild monkeys and that people had been hired to shoot the animals.
Since the people who do the shooting are often not well-trained the monkeys are not killed with one shot but injured severely and suffer a long time before they die a horrible death.
Petra decided to offer a workshop about cruelty against animals for the children of Bakers Woods.
The parents agreed and soon the lesson started! More than 20 children of all sorts of families from Bakers Woods took part, as well as some parents. Planned was a lesson of one hour but the children were so thrilled that Petra had to teach for 2 hours.
In-between they played games:
20 plastic animals were put into a bag and the children were blindfolded…
…and had to take an animal out of the bag…
…and guess which animal it was.
Also pieces of paper with the name of different animals written on them were put into the bag and the children had to pull one out and imitate the movements of the animal written on the paper while the other children had to guess which animal was meant. They all had a lot of fun and in the end the children had understood that all animals, monkeys, dogs, cats, have feelings just like we do and they begged the adults not to kill the monkeys. The result was the termination of the planned killing. Now the community searches for humane solutions to solve the monkey problem. A more beautiful and convincing example for the success of the work of Petra Bellamy and the school program can’t be imagined!
Since May Petra Bellamy teaches 6 classes of another public school…
Altogether Petra Bellamy teaches already in 9 schools.
4 public schools :
4 private schools:
This is a phantastic result for a project that runs only 14 months yet!!
The pupils of the Codrington School were the first to visit The Hope Sanctuary in June 2018. That’s when they decided to start a fundraiser for food for The Hope’s animals.
The school had to rent a truck and a taxivan to transport the donations to theHope Sanctuary.
And then of course they visited The Hope’s residents. These experiences they will remember all their life and pass them on to their own kids.
A big Thank you to the school, the teachers and the parents who gave this action their full support.
The new year has generally started well.
Petra Belamy teaches now also in a Montessori school and is negotiating with a 3rd public school.
Overview of the first half year01/27/2019
During the second half year Petra taught already in 2 public and 3 private schools…
The teachers and the IT staff are very helpful and go to great length to assist and make the lessons as interesting as possible. Often there are not enough chairs but that doesn’t effect the concentration of the children who are very enthusiastic about this new learning device. Afterwards they discuss what they have seen in the film and what can be done to reduce animal suffering.
But the children show also great interest in the learning material of the Humane Society of Dominica, here children of the private Providence School.
Overview of the first half year of our school project on Barbados(09/26/2018)
Private schools were the first that were willing to cooperate with Petra Bellamy, Educational Officer of The Hope Sanctuary.
Between March 2nd and July 29th Petra Bellamy taught altogether 16 times for 2 - 3 hours in 3 private and 1 public school, mostly 2 classes and 35 - 47 pupils. In addition several field trips to The Hope Sanctuary took place.
In August Petra Bellamy taught at the Police summer camp, a youth program where her husband gives lessons about alcohol and drug abuse for endangered adolescents.
…but also here the kids worked seriously, learning not only about domestic and companion animals but also about wildlife on the land and in the water. The learning material with exercises for groups and individual children is very much liked and the children participate with great enthusiasm and attentiveness.
Chief Police Officer Superintendent Margaret Steven mentioned during her speech how happy she was that animal care had been part of the summer camp program 2018. She said that she is an animal lover herself and knows not only about the therapeutic effect animals have on children but considers it as very important that children learn how to love and care and treat animals properly.
The children who visited the summer camp take with them something for life; the knowledge about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuses as well as respect and love for other living beings and knowledge about how to treat and care for them.
Petra Belamy has held already presentations in 2 more private and 3 public schools and the private and one of the public schools have already agreed to implement the school program in the coming school year so that Petra Bellamy will now teach in 5 private and 2 public schools!
First school trips to The Hope Sanctuary(06/26/2018)
Info from Petra Bellamy:
Two classes of the Codrington School and the Providence School have already visited The Hope Sanctuary.
The kids wanted to adopt all the dogs and one child wanted to buy The Hope.
They will start to collect donations for food for the animals and, even more important, they have good ideas about how to prevent animal abuse by informing and teaching the people and they have already understood that spay and neuter is the means to prevent overpopulation of unwanted animals.
Although some of these children won’t spend their whole life on Barbados they will surely live on other islands of the Caribbean and raise awareness there whereas others will stay and become our future animal welfare advocates here.“
Of course caution was necessary and one couldn’t let a whole class of happily excited children into kennels with partly traumatized dogs that had been severely abused in the past.
That was already a bit different during the second visit.
”We had the whole day time and let children in little groups of 2 and 3 to the dogs while the others lined up waiting their turn.”
It was obvious: The children have paid attention during class and have already learnt a lot about the right treatment of animals.
The kids from Codrington School kept word and started a donation campaign for food for The Hope’s animals. Proudly they carry the donations to Petra’s car.
Codrington school is a comprehensive school teaching both primary and secondary grades. The older pupils have a school committee and suggested to raise funds for food for the animals of the Hope Sanctuary at their next meeting.
Lessons have started at two more schools: St. Winifred and Providence School
The pupils who visit private schools don’t come from poor families but many of them will influence the future of Barbados and although they don’t grow up in poverty they often still have old-fashioned ideas about the keeping of animals. Therefore it is important to improve the attitude towards animals also here.
And although these children grow up in a different environment than the children in poverty-stricken areas they see a lot of animal abuse. Petra Bellamy tries to make them realize that things have to change and teaches them not to look away when they observe something that isn’t right.
St Judes Public School is the first public school that agreed to cooperate with Petra Bellamy
Petra received a letter from Providence school thanking her:
„Thanks for your session today. The teachers and children say that they loved it. We look forward to your next visit.“
Codrington school and Providence school are interested in a field trip to The Hope Sanctuary. This will happen probably in June.
First lesson at St Judes Public School
Here are also children from poor families and as on all formerly British islands the children wear school uniforms.
The children participate with great enthusiasm and ask right away when Petra will return. One child says: “You can come every day!”
These are children who experience situations like these daily:
May Petra succeed in teaching these children the love for animals, awareness and empathy needed to bring about the necessary change to make pictures likes these become a thing of the past!