Mariam Abuhaideri: Pink City’s Messiah for Animals

A content strategist by profession and an animal activist by passion, Mariam has made a name for herself in the Pink City in a short span of time with the various campaigns and movements she has started for animals. Though her stylish demeanour and jovial persona may make her stand out from the typical perception of an activist, her indomitable style of working and her go-getter attitude speaks volumes about her commitment to work.
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Be it a case of veterinary negligence, brutality by owners towards their pets or intolerance towards animals on the street, there is someone you can always reach out to with your animal-related woes. More often than not you will be guided towards the best possible course of action – whether it is approaching the concerned authorities or filing an RTI, creating a stir and mobilizing animal lovers to stand with you and support you in your cause and if nothing else, a shoulder to cry on and empathize in your pain is guaranteed.  No I am not talking about a government helpline or an animal care NGO. Let me introduce you to Mariam Abuhaideri.  A content strategist by profession and an animal activist by passion, Mariam has made a name for herself in the Pink City in a short span of time with the various campaigns and movements she has started for animals. Though her stylish demeanour and jovial persona may make her stand out from the typical perception of an activist, her indomitable style of working and her go-getter attitude speak volumes about her commitment to work.

Hailing from an Indo-Iranian family settled in Pune, Mariam grew up in a family of cat lovers but had never foreseen herself as an animal rights activist. “While growing up my dad brought home destitute animals and took care of them. He had a genuine love and compassion for animals and that got passed on to me as well. However, as a child I was greatly inspired by the renowned British-Iranian journalist, Christiane Amanpour. I wanted to be a journalist and report on conflicts from all over the world”, shares Mariam while reminiscing about her childhood.

Mariam went on to get a degree in journalism from the University of West Georgia in USA where she led several human rights campaigns as well. To fulfill her penchant for travelling, she decided to travel to different countries and work with different communities, including the Burmese refugees at the Thai Burmese border. Even though she got a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree from the renowned Johns Hopkins University in Bologna, she dropped that mid-way and instead took up a Rotary Peace Fellowship in Duke University as it allowed her to actually make a difference on the ground rather than being stuck with classroom debates and academic jargon.

Ask her what brought her to the Pink City and she says: “I came here in 2020 as a traveller and the pandemic-induced lockdown forced me to stay here. I used to live in a hostel and it was not a pet-friendly place so I had to leave my cats who were travelling with me at a friend’s place. Meanwhile, I befriended a family of five dogs living outside my hostel and when a car ran over one of the dogs, I approached Help in Suffering, a NGO working for animals. That’s when I realized that the animal care system needs to be more empathetic and since I believe in being a part of the system to change it, I took up a job at Help in Suffering and worked there for 15 months in animal rescue. ” Now working as a freelance content strategist and writer, Mariam is actively involved in campaigns related to the welfare of elephants, plastic-eating cows and well being of male calves, dogs and other community animals. Talking about one of the issues in animal welfare that needs urgent attention she opines: “Inadequate veterinary education is one of the major impediments in proper animal care in India. There is a total lack of compassion and empathy among vets. Most of them do not even want to be vets. It is because they cannot make it to the mainstream field of medicine, they end up being vets. In fact, many of them do not even want to touch the animal. They ask their compounders to check them
Furthermore , there is a lot of ambiguity about which organization is supposed to look into matters of vet negligence in the country. With the increasing number of pet owners in India, it is high time that some organized structure comes up in this direction. Pet owners should also make it a point to report these issues and take a step instead of just cribbing on social media.”


For those who want to take up animal rights activism, Mariam suggests not taking a full time job and instead working on freelance projects to be able to make enough time for the causes they want to work for. “You might not be able to get a big bank balance that way but your heart will always be full with happiness and that’s what matters! Animal care and rescue is definitely stressful and it is important to have a life beyond it to maintain your sanity”, says Mariam Abuhaideri while giving a word of advice.

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Tusharika Singh

Long texts over calls | Food, music and books over people | Chai over everything else | Statutory Warning: Allergic to morons

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