The New York-based Greek America Foundation is seeking veterinary students to participate in a month-long animal welfare volunteer program on two Greek islands that suffer from overpopulation of stray dogs and cats.
Volunteers will work under the direction of two licensed veterinarians and in collaboration with the local mayor’s offices to perform hundreds of spay-and-neuter surgeries and mitigate the islands’ overpopulation issue.
The Greek America Foundation’s team will work primarily on the island of Karpathos from June 13 – July 13, 2020. The island has an estimated 1,000 stray animals suffering from neglect or abuse. The situation worsens during the winter months when restaurants and hotels close for the season.
Students will perform tasks such as the following: the humane trapping of animals from their natural habitats; surgery preparation; microchipping; surgery and post-surgery recovery and returning animals to their original habitats.
A four-day trip to the nearby island of Kasos, which also has a high number of strays, also forms part of the month-long program. The program falls under the Greek America Foundation’s volunteer division, known as Greek America Corps.
During their month on Karpathos, the veterinary students will study the island’s situation and implement strategies to provide long-term wellness for the stray animals. Such strategies may include establishing feeding stations, starting a public awareness campaign and otherwise engaging with locals.
In addition to volunteer duties, students will participate in cultural immersion experiences such as excursions to historic, religious or otherwise significant sites — as well as local celebrations and festivities.
Up to 12 spots are available and students with financial aid may apply for scholarships that cover the cost of housing, program expenses such as cultural excursions, local transportation and various group meals. Airfare to Greece is not included.
Applicants who do not require financial aid may also pay for themselves. But regardless of application type, students must first apply and be accepted into the program in order to participate.
For an additional fee of $840 USD, students from the US/Canada have the option to receive college credit through the Greek America Foundation’s partnership with the Athens-based Hellenic American University. A counselor from the university will provide a curriculum and coursework. Applicants may specify in their application if they wish to receive this credit.