Do you ever come across an organization or program that makes you dream you had more money and time to give? Makes you start to lift in your chair and furiously read more and more until you just say, “that’s it- I need to donate RIGHT NOW”?
I get these little fantasies/fits-of-philanthropy/pipe-dreams (call them what you will) every so often, and once in a while they actually lead to real dollars donated. I write this post in the midst of one of those fits. I came across this elephant sanctuary called Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary while browsing the internet, and felt immediately compelled to take out my wallet and book a trip to Thailand. Like right now.
Boon Lott’s (BLES) is a sanctuary for elephants, an endangered species, located in the northwest region of Thailand. BLES finds elephants in danger, who are either no longer fit to work, or are living in unfavorable conditions, and brings them to the sanctuary where they are cared for and can live out the rest of their lives. Though Asian elephants are dying off at a drastic rate, in Thailand they have no more rights than any domestic cattle, which means there is little, if any, government support in the effort to save the species. That is why BLES makes the effort to protect elephants, and encourages donors to “adopt an elephant.” When you adopt an elephant, you can choose exactly which elephant you want to sponsor. There is Pang Tong, a beautiful mama elephant, and then there’s Mee Chok who was rescued as a baby by the BLES family. And those are only two of the many many elephants you can adopt!
Anyone who knows me knows that I am by no means an animal rights activist. (My sister, however…that’s another story) But elephants in particular hold a very special place in my heart. My grandmother, whom I would consider the biggest influence in my life even though she passed years ago, had a massive elephant figurine collection, some of which she passed on to me. Elephants don’t just remind me of the image of my grandmother, but they remind me of everything she stood for. Without going into too much detail of everything my grandmother means to me, I will simply say that elephants are just one of those things I can’t help but love.
What is so wonderful about BLES is that it is a sanctuary which anyone can actually visit and volunteer to work with the elephants! It sounds like a fantastic way to spend a few days if I were to take a trip to Thailand…ahhh, one day…
So that is my philanthropic pipe dream of the day: to travel to Thailand, donate to BLES and spend a few days with the elephants.