Friedrike Irina is a 59-year-old German woman who came to India from Berlin in 1978 as a tourist. She arrived in Radha Kund, Mathura, to look for a guru, as she believed one needed a guru to progress in life. But her life completely changed after her neighbour suggested she buy a cow. She started purchasing books on cows and even taught herself Hindi.
She soon came to care deeply for the bovines. What bothered her the most was that people abandoned cows once they grew old and stopped giving milk. While such cows are a daily sight to millions, Bruning decided to do something about it. She has saved as many as 1,200 cows, most of whom were abandoned, sick or injured. Bruning started a cowshed called Surabhi Gauseva Niketan, for which she fondly came to be known as Sudevi Mataji.
Once a cow reaches her cowshed, she takes complete care of the animal by providing food and medicine. Friederike has built separate enclosures that serve different purposes. One enclosure takes care of cows that need special care; another takes care of blind or badly-injured ones. There are about 60 workers at the cowshed, and as much as ₹22 lakh is spent every month on their salaries, foodgrain, and medicines.
Friederike says it’s not easy to spend that much amount. “I have some property in Berlin. I get rent from that. Initially, my father used to send some money, but now he is a senior citizen. Every year, I visit Berlin to see him. He is not well. I am not getting any help from the local authorities, but somehow managing my work,” she said. There’s another hurdle. The Indian government hasn’t provided Friederike with a long-term visa yet, and so she has to renew her visa every year.
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