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As it's INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, RANA have decided that as we know of so many incredible, brave, strong, determined women saving the lives of animals, it is the perfect time for us to tell the world about them.

Separate the 'women from the girls' and shout from the roof tops about how amazing these women really are.

These women who put the needs of animals over and above the needs of themselves and their families, who work tirelessly to save animals and to make a difference.

They don't necessarily talk the talk, (as they are just too busy saving animals and are just too modest to do anything of the sort), but importantly they do WALK the WALK!!

They are doers, they are heroines, they inspire, they motivate, they never complain and importantly they are changing the world.

RANA couldn't be prouder to be associated with such wonderful ladies and we want to say THANK YOU so much for all your support over the years.

So many animals would not be alive without you, you are AMAZING!

1. First up is Sara: In her 20’s, whilst studying for her degree, Sara set up the PAT shelter in Tunisia, one of the ONLY shelters in the country. She receives phone calls from people at all times of day and night, begging her to help save animals they have found or that are in danger. She has become the equivalent of the RSPCA in Tunisia - but without the donations or the massive team of workers.

She is the driving force behind thousands of rescues and adoptions. In a country where so few people care, she goes over and above, taking on every job role possible to ensure something actually gets done and the animal gets to live safely and be loved. Be it transporting animals to the vets, issuing paperwork with the Ministry, getting up at crazy o’clock to drive animals to the airport, collecting transport boxes, posting off blood samples, the list is endless and totally incomprehensible, but she does it, pretty much every single day with gorgeous baby Maya on her hip and determination fuelled by the sight of animals in need every day.

It is always eye-opening for us when we go to the shelter and we ask her about an animal’s age or rescue story, and she rattles it off from the top of her head. No notes or database, because every animal she saves is so important to her. She is passionate, determined and a lovely person to boot. Few people on this planet can say they have personally saved thousands of animals, but Sara is one of these people.

2. Simona:

There are few people who can learn a language fluently in a matter of weeks with the pure intention of communicating to save animals lives. Simona is not only one of the cleverest, most fun, upbeat people we know, she is also one of the most determined. She stops at nothing to ensure an animal is saved and could not care less about distance or what a logistics nightmare a rescue could possibly be, or even how much a rescue operation would cost.

Her standard go-to phrase is always, “We will find a way”… and through sheer hard work (and the help of a few hard-working credit cards!) she always does. The hundreds and hundreds of animals who have been homed across the world, from so many different countries proves this.

Simona is the living metaphor for the term ‘Rescuing knows no boundaries’. Her charity, which started off as Adopt a Tunisian Pet, has now expanded outside of Tunisia and is known as Mission Pawssible. A credit to how successful and powerful her rescuing skills really are, she now helps rehome animals from Thailand, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Serbia and Tunisia in to wonderful homes in Europe.

She loves all animals as if they are her very own, and always manages to make the most of every last second of the day. She is an inspiration and motivation to us daily, and if you don’t already follow her Facebook page, have a look now, as you will see exactly why we think she is just one of life’s greatest.

3. Zohra.

Zohra is an animal lover and not just someone who says they like animals and has a cat mug to prove it.

Zohra makes a point of actively trying to save as many animals as she personally can. Either by taking them in to her home, fostering them till they find adopters, or by going out on the streets to feed or care for the strays she can’t take in to her home. Even when her family protest, she still manages to squeeze another few in.

She is forever finding shoeboxes filled with kittens on her doorstep, and has up to 30 cats and kittens in her home at any one time, always trying to match a nursing mother with tiny orphaned kittens found in bins or dumped on the street.

It is thanks to her that many of our cats and dogs now live in the lap of luxury in the UK. Nawess, Alice, Star, Tegan, Atlas, Alfie, Laika, Ninja, Hermes, Liberty, Radar, Sheeba and Dina all owe their lives to Zohra – a true life saver who we are sure she will continue to be so despite the daily challenges she faces. Thank you for being so kind Zohra!

4. Meriam.

We often find across Tunisia (and possibly in life too!) that there is a huge ‘all or nothing’ attitude to animal rescue.

Even though her mother dislikes cats, Meriam has 52 cats in 2 rooms of her home, 52 cats who are looking for homes that she personally has saved from the streets. And there are another 10 cats permanently installed on her front doorstep, waiting for their chance at a better life.

She is definitely one of those special people who adopt the ‘all’ attitude to life.

She is another doer, a life changer.

All she wants is for animals to be safe, she doesn’t want to take any credit for all the hard work she does and rarely accepts donations to pay for sterilisations or vet bills, despite having impossible amounts of care costs stacking up.

When this brave and wonderful is not working all hours of the day to pay for her own rescued cats, she is out feeding up to 100 neighbourhood street cats, or is helping others to save cats and dogs, despite not even having a car.

You should see her insert a cat wormer pill! That act alone deserves an International Women’s Award!!

She is humble, modest, hard-working and deserves so much appreciation for what she does. Thank you for being so great Meriam, we hope we can help support you find more wonderful homes for those gorgeous cats you save.

5. Anita.

Anita’s very nature and attitude can be summed up by a message she sent today: although she has adopted rescue dogs and fostered for the last 45 years, she has never thought of herself as an animal rescuer.

This proves to us more than ever what a truly generous, kind-hearted, animal lover and rescuer Anita really is.

She is another down-to-earth, modest and caring key volunteer, and we are so grateful she was there in our time of need when we had a dog suddenly returned to us with nowhere to go, back in 2016.

This dog, like many since, benefitted so much from the wealth of experience Anita has gained over the years. We have seen her turn terrified, low confidence dogs in to super stars! She provides invaluable ongoing guidance to adopters whatever the issue and always refuses any kind of repayment.

We are so grateful for all the support she has given our RANA charity and fully recognise that without her, so many dogs would still be stuck in the shelter in Tunisia with no chance of ever being adopted.

Anita, we cannot thank you enough for being so wonderful and are looking forward to the many more rescues we can make happen together!

6. Brenda:

Our main goal at RANA is to rehome as many animals as possible; we don’t care where they were born, only that they are in need, and it is so nice when we meet other like-minded people who think the same. Brenda runs her own small charity, supporting German Shepherds in need of serious help.

Even though she is run off her feet with urgent cases, she still found it in her heart to consider the case of Jako, a young GSD in Tunisia who had been so badly mistreated as a puppy that all four legs were broken.

Jako had then been left like this with no treatment, meaning his bones fused in to the most horrendous positions.

Brenda made it her mission to get Jako, literally, back on his feet. She has been fundraising endlessly for him to receive the best treatment possible, from Noel the Supervet, no less. She still continues to fight for him everyday, always keeping us in the loop. We are so grateful this wonderful dog found such an equally wonderful lady to support his cause - and then adopt him too. It takes a huge amount of passion and dedication to commit and fight for a dog like Jako, we thank you Brenda for having that strength of character Jako and the other GSDs need and deserve.

7. Wendy

When living in North Africa we came across the term ‘fixer’, used to describe someone who has lots of contacts and can be called upon to make business happen.

Wendy is a ‘fixer’ in the animal world. She is connected to so many charities, rescuers, organisations and animal loving individuals throughout the world; she has so much time for people who want to help save animals, and makes it her own personal mission to spread her time amongst all these different animal lovers.

We felt very honoured and privileged to have Wendy join us on our first Tunisia Volunteer week in 2015 and have appreciated her support ever since with special cases. We always breathe a sigh of relief whenever Wendy gets behind one of our rescue cases as we know that through her connections and determination, these animals will always reach their donation targets to get to the UK and receive the very best treatment they deserve.

It is thanks to Wendy that Jako was able to find Brenda, Sally met Gillian and Thelma, Toffee and Juliette were able to find their lovely homes.

Wendy is beautiful both inside and out. She is so dedicated to animals and determined to make a difference and thankfully, for all the hundreds of animals she has saved, this perseverance always pays off. Check out her website to support on going rescues and fundraising.

8. Gillian:

Gillian’s passion for the underdog was crystallised when her dog Wolfie developed degenerative myelopathy and she found herself fighting for the best possible care for him for two years. After Wolfie died, she realised she could help other disabled dogs and one or two special cases turned into ten, then twenty, fifty…and we have now lost count of how many special and different, lovely dogs, have been helped thanks to Gillian’s determination and willingness to fight prejudice and ignorance with science, reason and compassion.

Wolfie’s Legacy is now a very busy little charity, with large numbers of disabled dogs being fostered by Gill in her own home, as she goes working on night shifts in order to pay her bills whilst still being able to provide the huge amount of care and hard work required to look after all these individual dogs. Her reputation has spread abroad, and she often accepts animals from countries where horrific injuries and mistreatment are the cause of these poor dog’s disabilities – including lucky Tunisians Thelma and Sally, both now living wonderful lives in family homes in the UK.

Gill, your drive, determination and refusal to accept negativity and prejudice are an inspiration and we are so glad to know you!

9+ 10. Nicola and Julie.

These two are the real life Thelma and Louise, also believe that like RANA, rescuing knows no boundaries. Their focus for years has been on saving cats from Egypt, who face a very similar miserable plight to those on the street in Tunisia and Libya. They are pros at doing the killer long drive to Paris to collect animals who are waiting to be adopted in the UK. It takes a huge amount of organisation, dedication and patience to organise paperwork, drive thousands of miles and deal with the people at customs. They do this task over and over again, with endless flasks of tea and homemade cake to sweeten the journey. We have been really grateful for their assistance on helping some of our RANA animals get back to the UK and are just in awe of all that they do. Thank you for being such brave, fearless, passionate animal lovers.

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