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The Change Starts with You! — Meet the Muscat Changemakers

The InterNations Changemakers have come a long way from when they first started. There are now over 50 groups worldwide, and we want to know what motivates people to become a Changemakers Consul and spearhead initiatives that give back to their community. This month, we shine the spotlight on the Muscat Community and their Changemakers Group.

Muscat Changemakers Consul Darlene Antonio tells us all about why she wanted to get involved and her plans for the group.

With the ladies from the Waves Cats and Dogs Rescue Group

What made you passionate about opening a Changemakers Group in your community?

When I was appointed as one of the Ambassadors, the InterNations Muscat Community was in its eighth year with 16,000 members. I immediately understood that I was in a capacity to be a catalyst of change.

I always look for ways to make events exciting and engaging — this is important to give members a sense of belonging within the group. During a meeting that was organized by Anne Keen, the Muscat Community Team Group Consul, one of the other Consuls suggested having "charity-related activities". As we had also previously organized a donation drive which turned out to be a huge success, we decided to give it a go! The Muscat Changemakers Group was set up on 10 January 2020 and currently has a total of 88 members.

How and why did you choose your first activity?

Our first activity was Adopt Don’t Shop. The most important factor for us was the legitimacy of the organization we were going to work with. We chose to support the Waves Cats and Dogs Rescue because many local charity groups are already receiving support from multiple big corporations, while this rescue group still relies heavily on private donors, although it has been active for many years.

Our participating members extended help in any way they could. It was nice to see them being proactive and contacting me way before the activity even took place to find out more information about the rescue animals in the shelter. Common questions that many had were about the adoption rules of the shelter and documentation that would be needed to be able to adopt an animal. It was also heartwarming to get many requests on pictures of the puppies and kittens available.

Snuggles, in the arms of his "foster-mommy"

What did you do during your visit to the shelter?

During our visit, besides getting to meet the adorable furry friends, we also got an opportunity to learn more about the Waves Cats and Dogs Rescue. It was great to know that we chose an organization that is comprised of a group of volunteers who devote their time and resources on caring for injured and abandoned cats and dogs in Muscat.

The shelter provides these strays with vaccinations and other medical assistance. To ensure that they will be able to fit in better with their new foster families, they are also being trained while waiting to be adopted. This is a pivotal part of their development as many of these strays have undergone intense trauma in the past and need proper attention and care before being integrated back into a family setting.

The shelter also raises funds to cover costs for pet relocation and veterinary fees as some of the animals also get adopted by families based in Europe.

What was the biggest highlight of your first activity?

The highlight of the activity was when one of the group members, Rina, took home two two-week-old puppies! She is fostering these little cuties until somebody adopts them. Having ample space for them to run and play around as well as getting her two teenage kids to become more responsible by taking care of the pups has made it a rather easy decision to welcome the dogs into her home.

Looking ahead, what is in store for the Muscat Changemakers?

I would love to have more activities that support local charities and encourage all members in Muscat to join us. We also have another Consul on board, Simon, who is an eco-friendly advocate. He will be organizing future clean-up drives and hopes to encourage members to attend workshops and seminars about eco-friendly and green living.

Our Changemakers Group is still very new, but we are very passionate about working towards a positive change and giving back to our community!

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