Jan Salter’s Legacy – Two Years On
Jan Salter passed away on the 29th of April 2018, exactly two years ago today.
At this difficult time of lockdowns and coronavirus, we are missing her more than ever. She was an inspiring leader whose energy and commitment to the goal of alleviating the suffering of street animals was the driving force behind KAT Centre for many years. Now that she is gone, we are having to go forward without her, while at the same time trying to act in a way that does service to her memory and extends her great legacy.
At the time of her death, KAT Centre was undergoing a huge amount of change. We had recently moved to our newly acquired land that she had worked so hard to raise funds for, making many personal sacrifices along the way. With nothing but a bare plot, we were all putting sweat and tears into building it up from the ground so that we could resume our important work. This was Jan’s dream and last wish – for KAT Centre to have it’s own permanent home that could grow with our success, without the need to pay rents or risk being evicted by landlords.
Jan never got to see the end result of her dream during her lifetime. Still, we hope that somehow she is still able to look down at all we have achieved in the two years that have passed since she left us.
As you can see – we have come so far in this short time.
KAT Centre has grown into a high quality medical facility and we have ample space to continue developing as funds and fortunes allow. The next step for us that we hope to achieve in the coming years is the creation of several satellite clinics in other areas of Kathmandu or Nepal to work alongside our base in Budhanilkantha. This will allow us to reach far more animals, in areas of the country that currently have no provision for street dogs and cats.
As well as having a lasting impact on animal welfare in Nepal, Jan also touched many people on a personal level.
She had a very generous nature that she used to benefit others in ways that went far beyond the meaning of normal charity work. For example – Dumbar Bote, a previous member of KAT Centre’s staff, was personally adopted by Jan after his family were facing extreme poverty. She brought him to Kathmandu and offered him employment and a place to live, and indeed extended her kindness to his whole family. The same is true for another early KAT staff member, Bharat, who worked with us in 2008 – she too lifted him out of poverty and brought him to Kathmandu where he was treated like her son.
My memory of Jan Salter by Gabriele Goetz
I travelled to Kathmandu for the first time in 2014 to the KAT Centre, which was then still at the old location. During my stay there I was impressed by the work KAT does with few resources. Unfortunately I did not meet Jan during my visit at that time, this was only in 2016.
Jan visited the KAT Centre and lovingly took care of the dogs. Many of them had been known by her for a long time and she did not miss to stroke and hug them. Jan’s energy and her unconditional will to maintain the KAT and to help the animals of Kathmandu were noticeable in every moment, despite her already high age and her affected health. Especially close to her heart was the plan to finally have KAT on its own land. I can’t imagine how many nights she lay awake during the course of the realisation.
When Jan’s health no longer allowed her to stay in Kathmandu, she spent the last years of her life in Lyme Regis, a beautiful coastal town in England, with her brother Jan Salter and his wife Merry. I visited Jan there as well and her family welcomed me with great hospitality. Although Jan’s health was steadily deteriorating, her first morning walk took her to her desk. She stayed in constant contact with the KAT Centre, wrote mails to donors and volunteers, conferred with the KAT manager and thus secured her life’s work.
I would like to say that Jan was, to put it in modern terms, a great influencer. But her life’s work was not limited to quick, convenient clicks on the Internet. Jan saved human lives and countless animals from death through the KAT Centre. Real life with its daily struggles requires great passion, perseverance and courage. Jan possessed all that. Besides her animal welfare work Jan was also recognized and respected as an artist. Her book ” Faces of Nepal” is still a standard work about the tribes of Nepal. In my living room there are three drawings of Jan hanging – so I think of her every day.
Without Jan my life would look different today. I would not have my dog Bear at my side and I would miss many friends who enrich my life. I hope that Jan is now resting in peace and I am proud to be able to contribute a little to the preservation of her heritage.
Thanks Jan for everything,
Jan was like a mother to many people. She gave much more than ordinary levels of kindness and really invested her time and energy into helping others. It is this investment that paid off in the many who came to love her and who are now dearly missing her.
Before Jan founded KAT Centre, there were no organisations for animals in Nepal, no form of humane birth control, and the culture of caring for street dogs simply did not exist. Dogs were poisoned by the government and then thrown into the river. After KAT Centre’s animal birth control program began, we received an agreement that this poisoning would end.
Jan was a visionary. Watch the video below to hear the story of how and why she began KAT Centre.
Towards the latter years of her life, Jan fell ill with Parkinson’s disease and had to take a step back from the front lines, though she continued to work hard behind the scenes and was instrumental in our success.
Thank you for reading! If you knew Jan and would like to send us your own memories and stories of how she enriched your life, please do contact us.