We at Wildlife SOS take immense pride in our young wildlife warriors. Their passion and dedication to helping conserve and safeguard nature are truly inspirational.
We take this opportunity to talk about young Xavi, an eight-year-old British schoolboy with learning difficulties who is spearheading a campaign in his school to support our rescued elephants.
Xavi, a student of Chailey St. Peter’s Primary School, Sussex, UK, who was moved by the story of RAJU elephant who was rescued from a lifetime of abuse by Wildlife SOS in 2014. He became determined to help the elephants under our care, by setting up a Facebook fundraising campaign which to date has raised over £1700 through raffles and a silent auction, and two of his classmates Aiden and Conall even sold mistletoes at the end of their drives!
It all started with Xavi’s teacher writing a heartwarming email to Wildlife SOS.
Cara Catchpole, Xavi’s teacher wrote, “I am writing on behalf of a student of mine, Xavi. He is 8 years old and has learning difficulties. He spends a lot of the time out of the classroom with me on a one to one basis as he struggles to cope with the classroom environment. He is absolutely passionate about animals, particularly elephants and whales. We recently measured the length of an elephant across the playground to help with his maths! His confidence and self-esteem is sometimes very low and he gets frustrated that he can’t do all the work that his peers can do. But I know that one day he will do great things in the animal world. He has a big heart.”
Following the success of the online fundraiser, Xavi decided to challenge himself (and his mum and sister!) to embark on a ‘Freedom Walk’ in January 2021. This was inspired by Wildlife SOS’s rescue of JAI on New Year’s Eve, where the team covered 500 km each way to bring the elephant to India’s first and only Elephant Hospital for medical treatment and care.
Xavi set out to walk 50km (over 30 miles) near his home in Sussex. This is one-tenth of the 500km, as Xavi is one-tenth of the size of an elephant. He completed the last leg of his walk last month and has urged people to join him virtually on his Freedom Walk Facebook Fundraising campaign. We are thrilled to see the support he has received so far and Xavi has helped raise over £2300 through both his campaigns!
In Xavi Barugh’s words “I don’t like walking but the elephants don’t like walking hundreds of miles as slaves, so I wanted to do a Freedom Walk for the elephants at Wildlife SOS, especially for Jai. The Wildlife SOS team drove about 1000 miles to bring Jai back to their Elephant Hospital. I want to make the elephants from Wildlife SOS and the team proud!”
Xavi and his classmates were recently treated to a zoom call with rescued elephants Phoolkali and Maya, live from India! Wildlife SOS co-founders Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani were also on the call and answered the children’s many questions.
It’s inspiring to see Xavi’s passion and enthusiasm to help bring awareness about elephant protection in India. What started as a conversation about Xavi doing a small fundraiser for the elephants at our rescue centre in India has turned into a bigger campaign with support for Xavi pouring in from all over the world.
We are incredibly proud of Xavi for taking on such a noble mission and we also thank his mother, his teachers, and his school for being so supportive of his efforts!