Who We Are
Founded in 2005, TOLFA is a charity with animal welfare and people’s empowerment at its heart. We currently operate an animal hospital and related educational and support programmes in Rajasthan, Northern India. Since 2005 TOLFA has provided medical care, vaccinations, veterinary treatment and spay/neuter services to more than 170,000 animals.
TOLFA’s vision is that by 2030, the Rajasthan region will be rabies free and that every sick or injured ownerless animal or animal belonging to a low-income owner will have access to the veterinary treatment and compassionate care they deserve.
TOLFA’s mission is to provide vital and preventative healthcare to India’s ownerless animals and animals belonging to low income owners and educate communities in their welfare and value.
From TOLFA Founder Rachel Wright
I love animals. It’s as simple as that! I love their diversity, their loyalty, their mischievousness, their cunning, their intuition, everything about them fascinates me. I don’t think that it came as a surprise to anyone when I became a veterinary nurse after a childhood spent bringing home every waif and stray that I could find. After working several jobs in the UK, including at the Royal Veterinary College, I could no longer contain what was to become my second passion in life and that was to travel. For 8 years, I travelled the globe doing volunteer work along the way but in 2001 a seed was planted that started to grow and has been growing ever since.
Sitting on a beach in Sri Lanka, I was visited by a stray dog in a very bad condition. She had an old fracture of one of her legs and was absolutely emaciated. I examined her and found that she had a stick across the roof of her mouth that was preventing her from eating. Once removed, she heartily tucked into my breakfast! Each day after that she came back to visit us and every time she would bring another dog with her, all with problems of their own. With my skills learned as a veterinary nurse, a small first aid kit and a bit of time, all of them got better. A month later sitting on a park bench in Pondicherry, India, I had a light bulb moment – this is what I was supposed to be doing, setting up a hospital and shelter for stray animals living in a developing country that have no possible access to veterinary services. I set a date there and then. The 4th October 2005, that is when I had to open our hospital and the challenge had begun.
After visiting many more countries looking to find the perfect place, 2004 brought me to the right place. Having been shown a photograph of 4 stray dogs tied together to a wooden post and left out in the desert to die, as the local method of stray dog control, I knew that I had found what I had been looking for. In April 2005, a land had been purchased and construction started for the Tree of Life Animal Hospital (TOLFA) in Kharekhari, a small village situated between Ajmer and Pushkar in rural Rajasthan. As hoped, we opened our doors in 4th October 2005 and our services to animals and people have been expanding ever since.
I would like to thank all the people, all over the world that have helped to make a dream become a reality. With such a huge project, it would have been impossible to do it all by myself and so for that I am truly grateful. Every time we are able to release an animal back to their territory and watch as it skips away back to meet its old friends, every time we are able to release an animal from its suffering and pain and every time we are followed down the road by an animal who is tugging affectionately on our hands, that remembers us from a stay at the shelter, I know that what we are doing is making a huge difference to both animals and people in our community.
TOLFA has provided compassionate care to thousands of animals
Since TOLFA’s inception in 2005, two acres of arid agricultural land has been transformed into a thriving veterinary hospital, shelter and sanctuary to the thousands of animals that it handles every year. It is a place that combines veterinary knowledge with love, compassion, healing and hope to every animal in need of its assistance.
TOLFA and its services are highly valued by the community and not only is it an oasis in the desert for animals but also to many local people as well. There have been numerous challenges and hurdles along the way but we have learn’t and grown from them and we always strive to do our best in often difficult conditions.
Dogs, cats, cows, donkey, peacocks, birds
Animals we serve for owners or rural villagers:
Dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, cows, goats, buffalo, chipmunks, ducks, peacocks
Animals we serve on behalf of the Forest Department.
Nilgai (local type of deer), monkeys, birds of prey, birds, desert hares
PLEASE NOTE: We do not admit any wildlife without Forestry Department permission.
Among our achievements:
All these animals have found shelter and compassion under the branches of the Tree of Life. Please help it grow into a giant forest. Donate Today.
Staff & Board
TOLFA employs 45 local people at our hospital and shelter. Many of our staff are from disadvantaged communities (or ‘low-caste’) and TOLFA offers great training and employment opportunities that would be hard to find elsewhere. We have 4 vets along with animal assistants, drivers, cleaners, groundworkers and our nurturing team.
TOLFA UK Trustee Board
The TOLFA UK Trustee Board are passionate and relentless in their goal to support the hospital, for it to grow and help more animals in need every year.
James Lowman – Managing Trustee
Terri Costain – Treasurer
Kerry Wilkins – Secretary
TOLFA UK Staff
Clara Nowak – Executive Director
TOLFA India Board
We are blessed to have found so many local people who feel strongly about the continuance, growth and success of TOLFA.
Kamlesh Khatri – Managing Trustee
Dhairya Soni – Secretary
Surendra Singh Shekhawat
Amar Singh Rathore
Facilities & Map
Building the Tree of Life
Since the first foundations were laid in 2005 we have, through the kindness and generosity of our supporters continued to grow into the shelter, hospital, sanctuary and place of healing that we are today.
TOLFA is located on Kharekhari Rd. in between Pushkar and Ajmer in Rajasthan, India. From Pushkar start near the Brahma temple and follow Kharekhari Rd (kuh-ray-kuh-ree) 7km to Kharekhari village, then continue (don’t make any turns) for 2km more and you’ll see TOLFA on the right. From Ajmer take Foy Sagar Rd. 8km from Ana Sagar and look for TOLFA on the left. Our facilities are easily recognized from the main road.
See Our Facilities from Above