Name: Jessica Collins, Fourth Year, Skibbereen Community School, Co. Cork

Background: As a passionate animal lover, Jessica was given the opportunity to volunteer for five weeks in China at the Slaughterhouse Survivors, Harbin Animal Rescue, looking after ill and unwanted dogs and cats. As well as playing with the animals Jessica worked in gruelling heat every day giving the dogs and cats water and their vaccines, shaving and bathing dogs that had matted hair, transporting dogs between rooms as well as power washing and cleaning the yard.

Over the course of her trip and as one of the youngest volunteers, Jessica became an integral part of the animal Rescue Centre even mentoring some of the new volunteers.

Jessica overcame the daunting task of travelling to China on her own and following a visit to a dog shelter which housed thousands of abused dogs she was determined to come back to Ireland and raise awareness of the cruelty that these animals were facing. She has set up an animal cruelty project and overcoming her own mental health difficulties is working to promote this within her school. She will also travel back to China giving up her summer holiday in 2020 to work with the animals once again.

Jessica’s motivation for volunteering: “I knew it was my responsibility and duty to help these animals when nobody else would and I am determined to make a difference to this world one animal at a time.”

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