Vet nurse Liz volunteers in Mumbai

By volunteering on a Mission Rabies project, you are directly contributing to a life-saving mission - protecting people and animals from the world's deadliest disease.

One of our recent projects was a mass vaccination drive in India’s most densely populated city, Mumbai. The campaign, which ran from Monday 26th February to Friday 1st March 2024, focused on the vaccination of free-roaming dogs to stop the spread of the disease which causes approximately 20,000 human deaths in India, each year.

Vet nurse Liz volunteers in Mumbai

The project was spearheaded by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in partnership with Mission Rabies, and marked the beginning of an annual mass dog vaccination project in the city.

The drive was supported by a number of local non-profit organisations as well as volunteers from India and around the world, all coming together to make a difference.

UK vet nurse, Liz Seaman, was one of our international volunteers who helped to administer life-saving vaccinations in Mumbai:

'There is something poignant about being part of something that can make a life-or-death difference to dogs and subsequently humans. And yet, slightly bananas. Having been privileged to be part of a *few* Mission Rabies projects, I hadn't been on a vaccine drive for a few years (COVID and 'adulting' sadly took over). Mumbai was an amazing refresher! It was energising, feeling part of a bigger, brighter (very yellow) cause.

All projects and places are unique, but Mumbai was distinct for a few reasons. The variability was huge, from gated houses and affluent apartments to sprawling warehouses, dense workshops, compact and crowded slums, plus everything in between. Friendly and curious people were a commonality everywhere though.

'Frenetic, hot, sticky, scented and intense—it's an amazing way to see a city and definitely a twist from a marbled, air-conditioned, tourist view.'

Vet nurse Liz volunteers in Mumbai

There were even differences in dog handling to other locations - a combination of owned, stray, and something (or rather some people) I had not previously encountered - feeders - individuals motivated to trying to help area dogs. Some had amazing local canine knowledge. A particular lady escorted Tigers B [our team] to over 60 dogs, telling us about the medication she bought for their care. She basically lined up patients for us! Others were less able to cajole the dogs; some even nervous, but still keen to protect the dogs.

Sanskar, the vet student in our team, lives just a *few* hours away (5+) and knew Mumbai from studying and living there as a child. Otherwise, it was a little different, in that none of the team members were familiar with the city; on other projects, I've been lucky to meet team members families and visit their homes. AJ is from Goa, Bittu from Jharkhand, and Taryn and I a little further off. Possibly no-one knew the whole sprawl, though we did try to cover every alley in our sections!

Vet nurse Liz volunteers in Mumbai

'While it's a strange way to meet people, it's also intense, interesting, and engaging. The team was hardworking and fun.'

AJ and Bittu did seem shocked, however, that Taryn knew all the words to the Bieber songs on not-TikTok (TikTok is prohibited but video streaming daily entertainment). Who knew our team's numbers would absolutely and unequivocally depend on Sanskar wearing his lucky shoes! Or that I would be vaccinating dogs with a Skylord (Bittu is VERY proud of his Instagram) on a tin roof looking over Mumbai... OK, so maybe I didn't quite climb on the roof - I would have fallen through, but as usual, the team was amazing and vaccinated as many dogs as possible, although some escapees did taunt us from precarious places.

While there were hot hikes, frustrating days, and 15 minutes of washing a bite or scratch really felt like forever, I would join again in a heartbeat. Every vaccine edged a huge volume of people to (and over) the target. Hopefully a huge push to rabies-free Mumbai: more cities, more protection, meeting many more interesting people with lots and lots more dog vaccines!'

Vet nurse Liz volunteers in Mumbai

Interested in volunteering?

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Mission Rabies
4 Castle Street
BH21 5PZ
United Kingdom

Mission Rabies is a project of Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS), registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (1100485)

Mission Rabies USA, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization – EIN 81-5065473

Mission Rabies Deutschland e.V. (VR 5642, Amtsgericht Marburg) -

In association with:

Dogs Trust WorldwideWorldwide Veterinary ServiceMSD Animal Health