ZAASO is a community based registered nonprofit organization that rescues, adopts, and provides shelter, foster care, medical treatment and valuable services to animals in need. We are based in Kianga, on the road to Chwaka Bay, about half an hour’s drive from Stonetown, Zanzibar - Tanzania, East Africa.


Zanzibar Animals Affection Society (ZAASO) is a Non-Government Organization that advocates animal rights and fair treatment of animals.

The establishment of ZAASO is a result of 10 people who decided to come together to raise their efforts to fight animal mishandling, torture, harassment and overloading.

ZAASO aims at collaborating and cooperating with other organizations, public and private Institutions and Non-Government Organizations
to bring about animal well-being and welfare in Zanzibar society.

ZAASO’s vision is to make Zanzibar a conducive environment with the society respecting and observing animal rights, treating animals with love and affection and to stop animal cruelty.


Ex model, Johanna Maria van den Berg started ZAASO in 2009 after witnessing several incidents of animal cruelty, to which no one did anything. After witnessing a donkey collapse in the middle of the street from its heavy load, Anna decided it was time someone did something to try and help these poor animals.

Anna originally started the project wanting to help the donkeys by taking the ones in the worst condition off the road. With the help of a friend, within the first couple of weeks after opening the centre in Kianga, Anna had 45 donkeys varying in severity of exhaustion due to overworking. Once news spread of Anna and what she was doing for the donkeys, people started to turn up outside her house with all kinds of animals for her to help. At this time there was only the Founder’s house on the property. Due to the reaction of the local community, Anna decided that she would build a clinic in order to treat and house the animals that where now being brought to her doorstep.

ZAASO is currently home to around 50 animals, of which we have cows, goats, donkeys, dogs and cats.


Simon, my dog got killed by someone on the 1st of May 2003.  Simon was everything to me.  That was my turning point.  From that moment on I made a decision to help animals in difficulties.

At first, I did not have anyone to start this activity with, I needed the right person who felt as I did about animals, someone committed.  I always feel bad when I see “stray dogs” in very bad situations (no food, beaten, knifed and in need of help) not to mention cows and donkeys – overloaded, beaten up, dirty, hungry, thirsty, it’s a terrible situation.

In December 2009 I saw an overloaded donkey in serious trouble, I maneuvered and parked my car right in front of him, but when I looked back in the rearview mirror, he was already collapsing.  This was a moment that I made up my mind, “Somebody needs to stop this cruelty.”

This is how ZAASO started.  The number of animals rescued each month varies from 10 to 25 and includes donkeys, cows, cats, dogs, goats and even a monkey once! Some are blinded in terrible accidents, crippled, broken, etc.  And for sure once they come to ZAASO they will never go on the road any more.  It is a big but beautiful job to see how a beaten donkey is no longer beaten and lays his head affectionately on my knees.  This is ZAASO’s story, this is all because of you, SIMON.

By Johanna Maria van den Berg