Charity profile


TAWI was founded by Richard Norton in 2008


TAWI (Transkei Animal Welfare Initiative) provides primary animal

health care services (primarily for companion animals)
for 18 disadvantaged communities around Port St Johns in
the Eastern Cape, where free-roaming domestic animals suffer from
over-breading, malnutrition, disease, parasites, infection, neglect
and cruelty. There are no veterinary services for 100s
of Kilometers and TAWI is the only organisation providing this much
needed service in the whole region.

Through community engagement, education and working with people,
our involvement addresses needs expressed by the communities with the
approach of gaining understanding, acceptance and co-operation. We
are not a shelter, we work in an outreach capacity with the
philosophy for "rescuing" animals in their own homes.

We see that access to basic veterinary services and humane
education with children creates empathy, through the fostering of
respect for life, creating a culture of caring and empathy for all
beings. This is a vital ingredient in the building of communities.


Continue to:

  • improve health and happiness for free-roaming companion animals and their families;
  • provide primary animal health care services, sterilisations and education for young people and owners in basic animal care, humane handling techniques and developing empathy and compassion;
  • promote TAWI as a centre for professional residencies – trainee and/or qualified vets, ecologists, sociologists, animal behaviourists, etc. who want to carry out studies and/or experience working in remote rural areas.


  • sterilise +70% of dogs in the communities where we operate;
  • extend our reach to more communities across the Transkei region;
  • develop our education programme;
  • raise awareness.



TAWI was originally set up at Port St Johns Animal Welfare in 2009. In recognition of the wider areas needing help, the name was changed to Transkei Animal Welfare Initiative in 2011 and NPO status was gained.


The former Transkei region is an impoverished region where there is no access to veterinary care. The free-roaming dog population suffers from malnutrition leading to starvation, diseases, parasites and massive over-breeding.


Richard Norton, a school teacher from Pretoria retired to the Transkei in 2008 and decided to do what he could to help local dogs and their families cope. Richard employed Isaac Kunyu, a young local man who is now a trained Animal Welfare Assistant and, in 2015, trainee Tyson Makhayakude. Between them (and a quad bike), they run TAWI.

We also have volunteers - Helen Miller for marketing, fundraising and social media, Linda Livesey for accounts and numerous other people who give time, expertise, financial support and positive energy - we couldn't do it without them.


TAWI receives regular donations from a small number of monthly supporters but it does not cover costs. We hold fundraising events and also fundraise through social media.
Sadly, all lottery funding for animals has been cut and there's no financial support available from government. Richard used his own funding to get the initiative off the ground but in order to secure TAWI's future, additional funders are needed. We have the
support of local people, businesses and the municipality.


Since 2009:

  • Gained trust of people in 18 local communities;
  • Treated around 12,000 animals;
  • Sterilised over 2000 animals;
  • Visit +- 500 homesteads each month;
  • Reduced the prevalence of rabies in the region;
  • Educate owners in the importance of basic treatments that eradicate worms, mange, ticks and fleas;
  • Promote the message that fewer but healthier dogs is better and that sterilisations are important;
  • Whilst not a shelter, have rehabilitated and re-homed numerous dogs;
  • Set up a functional and informative website.



This is at the core of what we do. Providing animal health care services to 10 rural communities (Noqhekwana, Mtweni, Bolani, Mtambalala, Luphoko, Nomvalu, Gemvale, Caguba, Tombo, Agate Terrace) and 8 Townships (Mtambane, Nonyevu, Pantu, Greens
Farm, Port St Johns Town, 2nd Beach, Caguba, Maheng).


Reducing over-breeding here is essential - the harsh reality is that only 1 in 10 pups survive past their first year and their suffering is phenomenal. in 2016 and 2017 we have been running 1-2 sterilisation days per week, sterilising around 50 dogs per month. We ALWAYS run out of funds before we run out of dogs.


Through outreach, we work with families to educate in basic animal health care and humane handling techniques. We would like to expand this to run dog training lessons to local young people.


  • The University of Pretoria
  • WVS (World Veterinary Service)
  • NSP (National Sterilisation Project)
  • Clem & Nancy Ramsden Charitable & Educational Trust

Our supporters mean the world to us, they are the reason we are able to offer this vital service to companion animals and their families. We are eternally grateful for any assistance you can give to help us help them.

(TAWI is also a Public Benefit Organisation. Please contact us if you would like to claim the tax back on your donations. Thank you).