Sikkim (SARAH) Project

Sikkim Anti-Rabies & Animal Health (SARAH) Program

Please apply now for the next season, which begins in March/April 2018, depending on climatic conditions.

"The Sikkim project was a delight to work for. They looked after me so so well. They were highly organised and professional. The SARAH hospital in Sikkim is a fabulous set up. There is a production line of dogs to neuter and vaccinate, it feels like you are making a difference! The team are fantastically friendly and they literally bend over backwards to take care of you. The fact that Sikkim is an exciting, wild place to explore is the icing on the cake."  Gemma Ford, VBB volunteer 2014


The state of Sikkim is nestled in the Himalayan foothills of North-East India. VBB works in partnership with the Government of Sikkim and Fondation Brigitte Bardot to enable this successful project.

This extensive state-wide Animal Birth Control-Anti-Rabies (ABC-AR) project requires the generous and dedicated work of volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses to continue.

Since 2005 volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses from Australia and overseas, have made the journey to beautiful Sikkim to participate in the program.

The SARAH program has now been approved as a division of the Sikkim Government. This means that the project, which delivers ABC-AR, public education campaigns and street dog health clinics will continue permanently. This success is due to the dedication and hard work of Drs Ian Douglas, Beth McGennisken, Thinlay Bhutia and Helen Byrnes, and all the SARAH staff. Thank you to Fondation Brigitte Bardot for their continuing funding of this hihgly effective program.

How the project works

The local staff that VBB work with are invaluable, they are the team members who keep things running as volunteers come and go. They are out at first light catching dogs (the most important job) and then are kept busy all day, being trained in the skills required to prepare the animals for surgery and to clean and pack surgical kits prior to autoclaving.

There is a lot of other work to be done. Community education and public awareness campaigns are vital components of the project. The benefits of a successful, state-wide program are not limited to the dogs alone. The reduction in the incidence of other zoonotic diseases, such as scabies, hookworm and echinococcosis, also contributes greatly to public health.

Public welfare is improved through effective Rabies prevention, following the creation of a stable, vaccinated, street-dog population. The community attitude to street-dogs is improved as a result of the reduced numbers without the need for violent and distressing culls. The work holds the potential to be of great worth to dog and human populations alike.

VBB’s goal is to be able to hand-over the operation of the project to local veterinarians in three-to-five years.


The program continues to extend its activities over an ever larger area of the state. This has been made possible by the appointment of more Sikkimese veterinary personnel, an increased supply of veterinary volunteers provided by Vets Beyond Borders and the acquisition of more plant and equipment, thanks to the generosity of Fondation Brigitte Bardot.

To find out the latest from the SARAH program see the 2016 VBB Annual Report.

Volunteering for the SARAH project

The clinic is in operation yearly from around March to May, and from mid October to November. 
Arrangments can be made for experienced volunteers to visit at other times - please CONTACT US for more details.