Lucy Fensom starts work as a volunteer at a kibbutz in Israel.
1990 to 1995
Lucy works as a volunteer in the cattery of the Jerusalem Society for Protection of Animals (JSPCA) in Atarot, Jerusalem.
During this time, Lucy starts caring for a donkey who is tied with wire around his legs near the gates of the JSPCA by giving him food and water and treating his wounded legs; she names him “Donk”.
Lucy returns to the UK, having made arrangements for Donk's care.
After realising that the arrangements are not working as they should, Lucy secures help from a UK sanctuary to bring Donk to the UK.
Donk sadly passes away due to heart problems linked to having been heavily worked from a very young age; Lucy’s vision of a sanctuary for donkeys in the Holy Land is born.
1995 to 1999
Lucy works as a flight attendant for British Airways with the goal of raising enough money to fund the opening of a sanctuary in the Holy Land.
Article appears in UK newspaper and generates enough donations to start sanctuary.
Lucy moves to Israel on her own and starts a small donkey sanctuary at Kibbutz Gezer with the rescue of little ‘Lucy’ (found as a young foal by her mother’s side who had been killed on a busy road), soon followed by three-legged Cachou and little Jordy (who had been marched through the streets of Jericho during an anti-Israel protest and had his ears and tail chopped off).
The charity is officially registered in the UK and named Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land. The charity is run by a board of trustees in the UK, and Lucy is employed by the charity as Field Director in Israel.
Lucy, who has by now been joined in her work by her future husband Adi, finds a suitable farm house with land for rent north of the Gezer area at Moshav Gan Yoshiyya.
2001 to 2015
Supported by a small team of farm workers and vets, Lucy starts rescuing abandoned and neglected donkeys in Israel and the West Bank. Additionally, they set up an outreach project in the West Bank and some Israeli Arab villages. With perseverance, compassion and understanding they slowly break down political barriers and eventually open a wonderful haven in Qalqilya and Nablus to help the people there who rely upon their donkeys and horses for their everyday livelihood.
By 2015, the sanctuary houses over 220 rescued animals, mostly donkeys, all with their own unique history and rescue story, but also the odd horse, mule, a cow and a goat as well as dogs, cats, ducks, chickens, guinea pigs and rabbits.
A new trustee joins the board in early 2015. Sadly and abruptly, Lucy's employment with SHADH is ended. Undeterred, Lucy feels compelled and driven to do all she can for her life's work to continue; to give the animals she so loves and is so passionate about, the help that they need to continue. Lucy decides to start a new sanctuary of her own to continue her life's mission to help improve the lives of working and abandoned donkeys in the Holy Land.
In September 2015, Lucy’s Sanctuary for Holy Land Donkeys is registered in Israel as an amutah (non-profit organisation, registration number 580615110) with the main aim of helping thousands of suffering animals in Israel and the West Bank by teaching their owners proper care and compassion, providing support through veterinary care and establishing a sanctuary for abandoned animals. Lucy's Sanctuary for Holy Land Donkeys has a board of trustees in place for help and guidance.
A suitable little piece of land with a ready shelter on site is found in 2015 in an Arab village in Israel to help start Project ''Help the Donkeys, Educate the Children''. Thanks to a generous donation from a UK supporter, work begins at the end of 2015, and Lucy has been rescuing donkeys and horses into her sanctuary ever since whilst also continuing her outreach work, supported by a small group of volunteers.
In 2017, in the UK a small group of volunteers and supporters register the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO),
Lucy’s UK Donkey Foundation with the British Charity Commission, with the purpose of fundraising to help support
the work of the Israeli charity, Lucy’s Sanctuary for Holy Land Donkeys.
Mid to late 2017, after suffering numerous break ins and an arson attack, Lucy looks for an alternative, safer site for
her sanctuary and feels blessed to eventually find a superb area. Surrounded by nature, with a much larger ready
fenced field and old poly tunnel frames in place, though very overgrown and in need of much work, Lucy sets about
having the necessary work done to accommodate the donkeys. Finally in December 2017, the new sanctuary is ready
and with the help of volunteers, all the donkeys are moved to their beautiful, serene new home.