March 8, 2016

Manuela Rodrigues is the "International Woman" Moving @AmazonCARES Forward!

Manuela Rodrigues at BarkWorld!
 In honor of International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the woman that is taking over and restructuring Amazon CARES to meet the changing needs of the community we serve in Iquitos, Peru!

 This amazing woman is Manuela Rodrigues, a woman is changing the world for the better.  Many people in the animal community know Manuela.  She gained recognition on the activism site, and they honored her as the“Changemaker of the Year.”  In 2009 she became a “Virtual Volunteer” for Amazon CARES, and in September, 2010, when she moved to Atlanta, she became the first employee of Amazon CARES in the USA, working directly with Amazon CARES Founder and Executive Director, Molly Mednikow in her home office.

In 2013 Manuela moved away from Atlanta and started a family.  In the meantime, Molly started the process of applying to law schools to become an animal rights lawyer.   “We both hoped that Amazon CARES was established enough to survive on its own, but there were many changes in leadership in the USA and Peru.  We could not afford to pay anybody in the US,” Molly said.  After taking a class in Nonprofit Animal Law, her professor told her that Amazon CARES absolutely required a paid Executive Director, and Molly's generous mother, animal rescuer Betty Mednikow, donated money to pay Manuela a very humble salary, and asked Manuela to return to Amazon CARES.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Manuela took care of abandoned and abused babies in the slums.

Manuela at Home!
During this time, in 2002, she rescued her first dog, Biggie, who now lives with her in Florida.  A man was selling young puppies on the street, and nobody bought Biggie.  The man abandoned the puppy on the street, and Manuela could not leave him to fend for himself.

Manuela moved to the US in 2004.  “Animal rights activism here is much more intense than in Brazil, and I believe that is because Brazil has so much poverty that the people don't think about the animals first. I love anything related to animal rights, and it has become ME, my life.” says Manuela.

When Manuela is not helping animals, she is busy at home with her two kids, Ingrid & Luca; and her two fur-kids, Biggie & Sammy.

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