Since its inception, Animal Rahat has conducted humane education lessons in dozens of local schools by using the Compassionate Citizen program. These classroom talks and materials teach children the importance of kindness to animals they have often seen as objects to tease or torment. Among other things, they learn why it’s important not to use kite string coated with glass, which injures birds, and not to set off fireworks, which frightens monkeys and dogs.

And because Animal Rahat now has a wonderful classroom at its sanctuary in Sangli, students can also get hands-on lessons in kindness, actually meeting and grooming all sorts of animals—including bullocks, camels, horses, and dogs—something that both the students and residents enjoy very much. Back in the classroom, the students watch rescue videos and pass around confiscated torture devices like yoke spikes and spiked bits. Such an experience changes the outlook and lives of many of the kids.

Compassionate Citizen presentations include asking the students to sign a “kindness pledge” stating that they’ll help animals and treat them with respect. After learning all about how animals deserve to be treated and seeing what can happen when they aren’t treated properly, students are eager to sign the pledge and become advocates for the animals who share their communities. In fact, some of Animal Rahat’s rescues, including those of a parrot and of turtles, have been conducted because students who had completed the Compassionate Citizen program reported an animal in trouble.