“Throughout my 35 years of life, I've lost count of the bone breakages I've endured. Living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a genetic and incurable disease that has made my bones fragile and caused deformities, has been a relentless struggle since I was diagnosed at the tender age of 4.” - Sweta Maurya, founder, Astha Loving Kindness and Compassion (ALKC) Foundation which helps injured and abandoned animals.
Sweta, fondly called Aastha, vividly recalls the challenges she faced early on in life, particularly at the tender age of 6 when multiple fractures in her left leg led to excruciating pain and an emergency surgery. The incident left her bedridden and confined to her room, with doctors painting a grim picture of a limited life due to the severity of her condition.
“To add to the burden, my father abandoned my mother and me, unable to cope with the financial woes and the challenges of my medical condition,” she adds.
Despite all the odds against her, she found her life’s purposeDespite the overwhelming odds stacked against her, Sweta found her purpose in life by dedicating herself to the welfare of voiceless creatures – injured, abused, and sick dogs in desperate need of a safe haven. The plight of these helpless animals struck a deep chord within her, and she just knew that she had to be their voice.
“While I dreamt of becoming a doctor to contribute to medical science and help humanity, my health conditions rendered me ineligible for medical streams. Rejection and ostracisation followed when I attempted to pursue homoeopathy in 2009, appearing on a stretcher for counselling. Though hurt by the judgement of those around me, I refused to be defined by their doubts. Instead, I persevered, opting for distance learning and eventually finding solace and purpose in graphic designing.”- Sweta
In 2012, a life-changing event occurred when her brother started a Facebook account for her. Browsing through the platform, she stumbled upon the heart-wrenching 'Adopt a Pet' page.
“There, I encountered a dog brutally beaten by a security guard at a university, bleeding profusely and in dire need of help. Witnessing such cruelty ignited an overwhelming urge within me to intervene. I connected with other animal rescue groups on Facebook and swiftly arranged for medical assistance and treatment for the suffering dog. This experience marked a turning point in my life, inspiring me to become the voice for these innocent animals,” she recollects.
She didn’t let challenges stop her from looking out for animalsDriven by her passion for animal rescue, she immersed herself in various groups across India, leveraging the power of social media to shed light on distressed animals in need. Yet, the ever-changing feed and constant updates posed challenges in reaching those who needed help the most.
Undeterred, she worked tirelessly to seek out neglected posts and reshare them, while connecting and tagging potential helpers. Her efforts to coordinate with NGOs, arrange rescues, and provide contact details connected volunteers to rescue dogs, donkeys, cattle, and more.
“Despite facing a setback in 2016 when my liver started failing and fluid accumulated in my body, I overcame these obstacles and bounced back stronger than ever. My dedication to my cause led me to establish the Astha Loving Kindness and Compassion (ALKC) Foundation NGO, focusing on animal rescue and welfare.” - Sweta
She needs your help to do more for helpless animalsDespite limited resources, Shweta channelled her earnings from graphic designing, which is only INR 6,000-7,000 per month, along with generous donations, to keep ALKC running. Through this foundation, she has successfully rescued and provided care for 400 animals, finding them loving homes through adoption.
“My unwavering commitment has not gone unnoticed, with animal activist Minakshi Singh from Varanasi acknowledging my dedication in rescuing distressed animals and providing them with essential care. Throughout my journey, I've discovered the fighter within me, defying the bleak predictions of doctors who had once written me off. I refuse to dwell on the limitations imposed by my condition, choosing instead to focus my energy on serving those who suffer unseen and unheard.” - Sweta
Now, her aspirations extend beyond animal rescue. She is more than determined to extend her cause to offer aid to orphans, abandoned elderly individuals, and the homeless on the streets. Additionally, she aims to provide online employment opportunities for others battling Osteogenesis Imperfecta, despite the financial challenges she faces.
“A touching encounter with a friend in the US, who also battles the same disease, further fuelled my determination. My resolve remains steadfast, and I derive purpose from making a positive difference in the lives of both animals and individuals facing their own struggles. But I cannot do this alone - I need the support of good samaritans and kind strangers who care about the cause of animals. Please help me make a difference in the lives of these helpless animals.” - Sweta
This brave animal lover and activist is looking to expand her activities. But she cannot do it without your help. She wants to feed 200-plus animals, organise mass animal vaccination drives, and offer on-the-spot medication for injured strays. She is also looking to raise funds for operational costs, staff and vet salaries as she cannot financially fulfil these expenses on her own. Additionally, she is also looking at procuring an ambulance, wheelchairs and tricycles for animals in need.
“I want to impact the lives of 10,000 stray animals through rescue, rehabilitation, and feeding initiatives by the end of 2023. I want to create a ripple effect with my small yet potent moves.” - Sweta
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Registration Number - AAOCM6666MF20229