About Us

“Friends of the Center for Animal Lovers” is a small self-driven and yet a very active group that has been founded with the primary purpose of providing help and financial support to the Vafa shelters in Hashtgard and Ghazvin. Ms. Fatemeh Motamedi, the founder of the group, has had a critical role in making Friends of Vafa a very unique and strong group in Canada.

Openning day of the shelter- September 2004-Fatemeh Motamedi, Vafa’s Founder

About the Founder

Fatemeh Motamedi was born in Qazvin in 1950. She has a BA in English literature. She taught English in high schools for eight years.

She loved animals since she was a child when she remembers emotional suffering from seeing the injustice that animals endured. She was very sad when she saw the hunger, lack of shelter and abuse that stray dogs and cats went through. She was aware of the suffering and pain of other animals in slaughterhouses, zoos, circuses, clothing industry, laboratories, transportation industries and hunting. This is why, more than 40 years ago, she adopted a non-violence approach toward animals as her lifestyle and became a vegetarian in her early 20s.

After She founded “Center for Animal Lovers” in 2003, she used her property in Hashtgerd, Karaj, to establish the first animal shelter in Iran. With her own funds, she launched Vafa’s shelter in 2004.

Vafa is the first animal shelter in Iran and currently has two branches located in Hashtgerd and Qazvin.

Fatemeh’s three children live in Canada and the US, and this is the reason she moved to Canada in 2008.

In January 2010, Fatemeh launched “Friends of the Center for Animal Lovers”, and registered it as a NGO in Ontario on 16 March 2012. This organization works to support Vafa abroad, and is also known as “Friends of Vafa in Canada”. Much of its work is to raise funds for Vafa. The group organizes summer and winter markets, garage sales, friendly gatherings and takes part in other social and cultural events in Toronto to introduce Vafa to other Iranians. It also helps to find adopters and sponsors for Vafa’s dogs abroad and organizes to relocate dogs from Iran to Canada and to find them temporary or permanent shelter. “Friends of Vafa in” Canada benefits from dozens of hard-working volunteers.

Fatemeh Motamedi in Toronto with Roza & Nafas, two paralyzed dogs from Vafa

From the time that “Friends of the Center for Animal Lovers” was founded, Fatemeh Motamedi had been the president of the organization until the age of 69, when she felt that she needed to retire from executive duties and pursue her favourite cultural work, translation of animal rights texts and animal shelter guidebooks. One of her favourite works has been the promotion of a cultural project on animal rights and shelters, and she has previously translated six books including the World Animal Protection (WAP) guide book.

To that end, she resigned on October 1, 2019, but she will continue to be an adviser to “Friends” and “Vafa Shelters”.

Let’s Make a Significant, Lifesaving Impact

We are Canadian animal lovers and friends of Vafa, dog shelters in Iran with about 2000 dogs to support. Friends of the Center for Animal Lovers/Vafa Animal Shelter is a registered non-profit group.

Do you believe in miracles?

We sure do!

Every day, we see the difference YOU can make in the lives of animals. They come in with broken bodies and hearts and it’s your generous support that gives them a second chance at life.

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