Kym's devoting life to the welfare of animals
A six-week college project volunteering at an animal hospital and rescue centre in India has turned into full-time work for a former student.
Kym Barratt, 47, of Old Dalby, near Melton, is now head of UK fund-raising for the Tree of Life for Animals (Tolfa) charity, which operates from near Jaipur, in Rajasthan.
Kym was studying animal science at Brooksby Melton College when she went to India in 2003 for her dissertation comparing animal welfare there and in the UK.
She now runs the UK headquarters of the charity as a volunteer from her Queensway home.
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She said: "While volunteering at the animal hospital, I did a lot of vet nursing jobs such as assisting in theatre and in treatments, feeding anorexic animals and generally keeping a check on the welfare of the animals.
"Following graduation, I lived in India for two years and volunteered for six months at the animal hospital.
"I was so impressed by the charity that ran the hospital, Tree of Life for Animals, that I became a trustee when I got home.
"I am now the managing trustee in the UK.
"We are working to improve the lives of animals and humans in the area.
"Our aims are to create a rabies-free environment through sterilisation and vaccination of the enormous stray dog population, as well as providing rescue, medical and surgical care for any animal that comes our way.
"On a daily basis, we treat cows, goats, dogs, cats, camels, donkeys and monkeys."
The charity also runs the Project Raja Volunteer Scheme.
Kym said: "We are always on the look-out for volunteers to help us at our busy shelter.
"We are in need of qualified vets and vet nurses but we are also happy for veterinary students and volunteers who have experience, as well as people with a bit of time, compassion and other skills to contribute.
"They will see things that make them cringe and break their hearts.
"They won't be able to solve all the problems but they will make a difference and an infinite number of animals' lives will have been made better because of their presence at our shelter."
Kym, who speaks to veterinary and animal care students around the country, said: "We believe if we help the animals, we will help the people and we are trying to educate the next generation about the need to look after their animals.
"It costs about £100,000 a year to run the centre. A key part of what I do is spreading the word in the UK.
"I hope some of those I talk to are interested in following in my footsteps."
Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can contact Kym at: