David Waltner-Toews, our founding Board President, has been inspiring people to do international work for years, in large part through his dedicated work at the University of Guelph. Countless students name David as the primary influence in their decision to become involved in international development. David’s passion is EcoHealth, the idea that the health of animals, people and the environment are inextricably tied. He made this concept the centre of Veterinarians without Borders’ work.
Enid Stiles, spent her formative years living in Zimbabwe, Africa, and took the memories from her childhood into her practice as a veterinarian. Now she volunteers in Guatemala and in Northern Canada and has helped countless animals, and people around the world.
Tanzania project leader and dedicated board member, Roger Thomson, hosted foreign exchange students in his family’s house for his children's entire childhood. He felt it important to let his children learn about cultures from around the world. Roger’s dedication to VWB/VSF’s Tanzania project knows no bounds, which you’ll know, if you’ve ever met him.
Our Managing Director, Erin Fraser, was fresh out of vet school when she went to Honduras to volunteer in a tiny village. It changed her life. She came back to Canada determined to empower the world’s poorest communities.
Alden Hadwen, our biggest supporter at Aeroplan, also had a dream. She made it a reality with a simple email to founding president David. Her request? Did anyone know of a veterinary organization in Canada that was working to better the health of animals, people and the environment, and if not, was he interested in forming one?
A week later, the founding veterinarians described above—plus a few other intrepid souls—met in a small café in Guelph in 2005 to talk about Alden’s idea. Four months later, after a flurry of activity, and armed with only a cell phone, proof of charitable status and a second floor office, Veterinarians without Borders (VWB/VSF) Canada set out to change the world.
From day one, our organization’s passion, dedication and commitment has ranked off the scale. That might be why, within the first few months, Aeroplan committed to providing Aeroplan Miles for much needed travel support to our projects, allowing us to work with communities in person, with on the ground, grassroots initiatives.
That first year, we also received significant government funding and recognition that our ecohealth approach is a good strategy for communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America and for people back home. Lower disease prevalence in developing nations means a lower incidence of zoonoses—diseases that are passed from animals to humans, like Avian Bird Influenza and SARS—around the world. That means a healthier planet for everyone, including Canadians.
Thanks to the dedication, commitment and generosity of our volunteers, our donors and our sponsors, and our Board and staff, we’ve come a long way toward big picture solutions. Today, we work in over a dozen countries around the world. Our projects are supported by individual donors, foundations, government and corporations. You can be a part of our successes; join the big picture and help us create: healthy animals, healthy people and a healthy planet.