children's author inspired by Afghan boy
amazing trek to freedom made by a little Afghan boy and his baby
donkey is now the subject of a new children's book by a top selling
Incredible Journey is a true story about seven-year-old Fayim Kalim,
who fled the troubles in his homeland with his family and eight
month-old donkey, called Baby. The book tells how Fayim trekked
for fourteen days from north of Kabul, through the Khyber Pass -
one of the most dangerous roads on earth - to the safety of a Pakistan
refugee camp. The trek, also made by thousands of other refugees
in the aftermath of September 2001, exacted a terrible toll on people
and their animals.
Tessa Krailing was inspired to write the book after learning how
the Brooke Hospital for Animals, a British animal welfare charity,
stepped in to help Fayim and his donkey. Brooke mobile veterinary
clinics gave free treatment and food rations to the working horses
and donkeys of refugees arriving at the Peshawar refugee camp
Brooke's Head of International Development Dr Bill Swann met courageous
Fayim. "In many cases these animals represent the only remaining
wealth of refugee families," Bill said at the time. "Baby
the donkey may be small now but before too long it may be the family's
only means of transport and income."
the author of twenty books, is donating her fee and royalties from
this book to the Brooke.
heard about Fayim and his family from the vet who treated Baby's
ailments when they arrived at Peshawar," explains Tessa. "I
found out that every week thousands of refugees were arriving in
the camps with their sick and exhausted animals.
their owners these animals mean the difference between life and
death. If their animals should die they have little hope of building
a future in a new land. Fayim's father, like so many others, was
surprised to find the treatment is free. Often this is the first
kindness from strangers."
There are an estimated 30 million working equines worldwide. These
animals are usually the only source of income for the poor families
that own them and work under extreme conditions of heat, pain, exhaustion
and illness. The Brooke Hospital for Animals was founded in Egypt
in 1934 to improve the condition and well being of equine animals
overseas by providing free veterinary treatment for the working
horses, donkeys and mules in some of the most hard-pressed communities
in the world and by advising and training their owners. It is the
only organisation dedicated to providing veterinary treatment for
working equines, alongside training owners, to bring about lasting
change. It operates in Egypt, Jordan, India and Pakistan. Since
working with the Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the Brooke has now
extended its work into Afghanistan.
Incredible Journey' is published by Oxford University Press and
costs £3.40. Please call 01536 741727 to place an order quoting
ISBN number: 0-19-919627-3. It is part of the Tree Tops True Story
Pack One and is aimed at seven to nine-year- olds.