Houssein Hamze has been looking after animals ever since people in his neighbourhood started fleeing and abandoning their pets during the Lebanese 2006 war. He responds to calls of injured and abandoned dogs, cats and even wildlife.
He has been forced to leave 3 different lands due to community complaints of the sheer number of animals roaming around and has been forced to rent a piece land very far away. One with no working electricity or resources. The shelter houses over 300 dogs, injured wildlife and 70+ cats which reside around his house. Houssein is rescuing on average 3-5 new animals per day, many of which get adopted after being given necessary treatment and care.
Housseins works in the agriculture business. He owns a number of greenhouses in which he plants trees and flowers which he then distributes to florists. However, the harsh economical crisis that has hit Lebanon, has affected his job drastically and has reduced his income to barely anything. This has made it very difficult for him to sustain himself, let alone the rescued animals.
The rescue animals need daily care and Houssein has not gone one day without working at the shelter in the past 14 years, which again has also affected his personal job because he could not dedicate enough time to his plantation. He has 3 people assisting him during the day, whom he also struggles to pay their salaries.
You can read more about Hussein in this article on Beirut.com.
The current situation
The shelter is not in its ideal state due to minimized funding. Houssein does not receive any stable monthly funding, but relies only on people’s generous donations which tend to fluctuate from month to month according to the country’s situation. There are so many expenses and so many plans to enhance to shelter, that hopefully with more support, he will be able to execute those plans.
In the table below, you can get a more detailed idea of Mashala Shelter's monthly expenses.
The shelter needs a minimum fixed monthly amount of approx. $10,000 to keep running, and another $5000 to be able to keep rescuing new cases. This money will enhance the shelter so it can welcome more animals, more people (volunteers and visitors) and be an ideal living space for the residents (dogs and employees).
* The USD to LBP rate varies according to the economical situation and this is why we are listing prices in USD.
Unfortunately, Houssein does not speak any English, and has no experience with exposing his story to people through social media in order to obtain funding and support. We as volunteers are helping him get better exposure and help worldwide, and are managing the social media pages in English, as well as offering our bank accounts for those who want to pay online (since Houssein does not have any bank account).
We are planning on registering Mashala Shelter and Houssein officially as an NGO in the near future so he can receive all the funding directly.
“ MA Wildlife Documentary Production. I have been helping Houssein for over 3 years now, and have finally decided to dedicate all my time during the COVID pandemic to help give him more exposure on social media, make short documentaries on him and the shelter, foster some cats and dogs until they found their forever homes, and being point of contact with rescuers & donors (especially for those only speaking english or french). I am also heading the amazing team of volunteers who are helping Houssein as well. “
Lynn Al Khouri
" I’m a designer and animal rescuer. I started volunteering with Houssein after witnessing the beautiful work with the animals. I design posts and videos to help Mashala Shelter reach more donors online. I occasionally join on rescue missions, and visit the shelter as often as I can to help Houssein as well as take photos of our animals and find them forever homes. “
“ I am a digital marketer specialized in brand growth and expansion. I am also a hardcore animal lover. I am currently assisting the team in increasing the shelter’s reach online and get more people to know about what this wonderful man does... hopefully to be eventually be featured on a global platform and get the exposure and support he deserves! “
“ Film maker / video editor / animal lover, helping the volunteers with documenting and spreading the message of Houssein and Mashala shelter. “
“ I am a translator, and I have known and helped Houssein for a long time. So I thought it would be a good idea to help Mashala Shelter by translating the Facebook post captions from Arabic to English so that foreigners can understand what Houssein is saying. “
“ Developer from Berlin. I have had dogs in my life for as long as I can remember and I am in a position to help out now so I will. “
Our mission is to reach the hearts of animal lovers all over the world, who might listen to Houssein’s story, and feel like he deserves all the help he can get. We hope to reach a recurring monthly amount of donations, enough to sustain the shelter and even enhance it, and enough to be able to rescue more and more animals in need.
Ideally, Houssein would have several employees under his watch, so he can focus on his personal job as well as the shelter, and so he wouldn’t have to be executing every single step of the rescuing process (receiving the phone calls, responding to them, driving to rescue the animal, taking that animal to the vet, taking it back to the shelter, providing food and water for the animals, filming the rescuing process, uploading it on Facebook, asking for help from people, receiving donations, buying material, etc…).
We envision a shelter full of happy healthy dogs who have plenty of space to roam, plenty of clean water to splash in, plenty of shelter to sleep under, and plenty of individual exposure to finally get adopted!