Model and Philanthropist Elena Fernandez
We scoured charities, organizations, and agencies to search for individuals that stand out to us. We wanted celebrities or individuals that could fulfill our quest for the greater good, individuals who strive to make the industry better or strive to bring awareness to certain issues as well as fulfilling that idea of what we call philanthropists. In our search, we found Next Model Management model, Elena Fernandez. I chatted with Fernandez to hear about her humanitarian projects. Fernandez is a half Indian and half Peruvian law student, actress, and model, who spends most of her time back and forth between the U.S., London or India. The Victorias Secret model, who most recently crossed over into acting in Bollywood and can be seen in ‘Karan Johar’s Kapoor & Sons’ But, it’s India where she has come to do humanitarian work for both Animal Welfare and human welfare.
In India, the health and welfare of both humans and animals are not put at the top of the list, so there is a huge amount of poverty, illness, and hunger. This doesn’t go just for humans, but for the animals. Fernandez has made it her mission to help. The 27-year-old started caring for homeless dogs and cats 5 yrs ago when traveling to India.
It’s pretty amazing actually, not only does she take them to a veterinarian, but also feeds them and fosters them after their procedures, all while financing it on her own. Fernandez’ project has grown, that she now has a team in place to help her with this cause. From a team of veterinarians to after care to fostering. She searches the streets of Mumbai, India, where most of the overcrowding is dogs and cats. With her team is in place, she catches them the night before the scheduled procedure with the veterinarian and then takes them home with her for 24 hours for post op care. As much as she would like to keep them all she says, she has to release them to the exact spot she found them. So again, not only does she have them neutered, feed and care for the cats and dogs, they also receive vaccinations, deworming, and a general health check.
Fernandez does not complain about the work, she loves it, “I carry a bag of food with me wherever I go” “it’s my passion”. She loves knowing that she is trying to make a difference in a city where animals are not treated well. To date, she has neutered 160 cats and 30 dogs but acknowledges that there is still a lot of more work to do. She has been working to extend the work of social work group Trap Neuter Return (TPR), which works for the welfare of cats.
If taking care of dogs and cats wasn’t enough, Fernandez also cares for those in India who have been affected by a corneal disease. Since many of those working in India do not have the proper health care, there are those who end up losing their eye site from various working conditions or health issues. So, Elena Fernandez has partnered with Seattle based firm, Sightlife is the only global health organization working relentlessly to eliminate corneal blindness worldwide by 2040. Working with partners in more than 30 countries, SightLife is increasing the number of corneal transplants performed each year to transform millions of lives around the globe.
She also travels to schools in Mumbai, speaking to young girls about female empowerment and how education is important. When speaking with Fernandez, she is so emotional about how there is a huge rape culture in Mumbai and how females are treated as 2nd class citizens. She wants these young girls to know they can do more for themselves.
“I believe it is a social responsibility all of us should be involved in to make a better India”
Fernandez says “all it takes is a simple act of kindness, smile, give a stray cat or dog a biscuit, give a homeless person your leftovers, stroke an animal or just say hi as you pass by a stranger.”
Please contact Elena directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to get details on how you can send donations directly to the veterinarian practice in her group.
For more information on how to donate to Sightlife, visit www.sightlife.org