AWOL’s story began in 2004 when Pauline and Graham moved from England to Luxor. Shocked by the lack of veterinary treatment and the poor state of the animals on the west bank they set about trying to help the animals wherever possible. By 2007 they were working as an unofficial voluntary organisation caring for these poor animals. In 2008 AWOL was registered as a charity in England and Dr Mohamed joined the team in Luxor. He and Pauline travelled almost daily around the villages in the dirt, dust and searing heat treating needy animals whenever they found them.
Today AWOL operates from a new, small medical centre on the west bank which was completed in January 2013. It is not yet fully equipped but it does provide a base from which AWOL can continue to help the animals and their owners.
AWOL’s aim has always been to educate and inform rather than admonish and scold. Many of the injuries we see are caused by ignorance and lack of education rather than cruelty. The west bank is an extremely poor area and many villagers are uneducated and illiterate. It’s not that they don’t care for their animals; they just don’t know how to.
AWOL offers advice to the animal’s owners and strives to educate them and the children of the villages in the hope that the next generation will better understand the needs of the animals. We provide free replacement equine tack and dog collars to replace the unsuitable materials used which are often the cause of injury. AWOL does not charge the local people for its services; they have no available money and need help themselves.
AWOL consists of 2 branches; AWOL UK and AWOL Luxor. Most of the fundraising takes place in the UK although we are always happy to see new fundraising groups pop up anywhere in the world and we receive some donations in Luxor from tourists and visitors. All monies raised goes to help the animals. No trustee is paid any expenses, all travel to and from Luxor is paid for personally. We pay only essential local staff in Luxor.