Education saves lives

Educate the young generation for compassion and care, considering pets living creatures and not objects for play with.

Photo of Lapis Cristina
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize and, based on its description, I am eligible to apply:

  • Yes, I’m eligible

Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend:

  • Additional Skype interview(s) during the week of March 16-20th 2020
  • The Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Paris, on 3-4th of June 2020

Initiative's representative name

Cristina Lapis

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative's representative gender

  • Woman

Headquarters location: country

  • Romania

Headquarters location: city


Where are you making a difference?


Website or social media url(s)

Date Started


Focus Areas

  • Re-imagining the role of pets in society

What is your current yearly budget for the initiative? If you are an idea stage, what early budget you would need to kick-off and run operations in your first year?

  • €1k - €10k

Organisation Type

  • nonprofit/NGO: an organisation that uses its resources to achieve a purpose outside of creating profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

After more than 20 years of saving street dogs and cats I realized that only an educational program for the young generation could change the faith of so many pets who bring puppies who are not wanted and arrive in the street, at the garbage or are left on their own around the town. When the children who visit our shelters arrived to convince their parents to neuter the dogs and the cats they own, I decided to go in schools and teach the pupils the responsibility of having a domestic animal home.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The problem of the stray dogs and cats is very big in Romania and the politics believe that only killing them there is a solution. I try to show that neutering the pets with owner we avoid so much suffering for the animals who are not desired and also for the humans who cannot bear to know that millions of dogs and cats are killed every year.

3. Your solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The information we provide to the children arrive to the parents who most of them doesn’t imagine that is so easy to neuter the dog or the cat instead to through the puppies every time their own pet is breading. The association I drive does the neutering for free.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

The new approach of my method is to develop the compassion and the responsibility of the young generation who will become the future owner of home pets. I am against the method of neutering and release the pets back in the street and I think is better to avoid the reproducing without control of pets. I created 3 shelters, but the life of pets is not in a shelter even if it is the best. Pets need a family to care for, to give them attention and love.

5. How does your project harness the pet-human bond to help people develop important social competencies (For example: emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, resilience, inclusivity) and overcome serious societal issues (for example: violence, abuse, trauma, isolation, abandonment)?

“The education is the most powerful weapon to change the world” (Nelson Mandela) This is the motto of my project which stays on the first page of the text book we give to every pupil who is studding one year “the welfare of animals” class. The empathy, the respect of other creatures, of the environment is learning from the little age. Bringing the children in the shelter where are so many dogs and cats abandoned wakes them up to the problem of uncontrolled breading. This is part of the educational program we developed since 5 years, with the benediction of EU Commission.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

The educational program began in Brasov, but was extended to the cities around because the Majors saw that Brasov is the only town in Romania where dogs and cats are not euthanized and every year the number of stray decreased. The number of school who ask my association to participate to the educational project is every year bigger. There are more than 5000 students who participated to this program. The communities of Zarnesti city and Stupini neighborhood are affected and are happy of this project. Our problem is that we cannot answer to all communities who want to participate to the project.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

In the long term it would be useful to make a training for all the teachers who want to develop this program because until now there are only the employees of the association who present the lessons in all classes. The teachers tried but the pupils put questions where people who are not in animal protection field don’t know to answer. Some training could help to spread this program to all the country.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?

The pets owners must treat animals as a family member, must provide them appropriate food, veterinary care but this must be learned before buying or adopting an animal of company. I wish to change the mentality of buying animals as toys for Christmas to abandon them for the first holidays . My program includes advertising for hotels to accept pets. Pets like all the other animals are part of our world where they must have a right place.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

The project is supported by the partners of the association AMP, but recently a bank understood the importance of educating young generation (future clients) and began to support this program. If the program succeeds to grow to the national level we hope that the Education Ministry will take in count to include such a matter of study supporting at least the text books.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

President 2 Vice president 1 HR inspector, 1 PR assistant, 1 IT programmer - all three are going also at schools, like teachers on our courses Accountant manager PR assistant Victory Dog Shelter manager Libearty Bear Sanctuary manager Vets - 2 collaborators Vet assistant 2 employees who manage with all the emergencies cases on the field 1 customer information officer - she 's working for us, but in the public shelter Animal caregivers

11. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize?

If ever Purina consider that this project has a future in many non-develop countries (in the animal protection field) I think the politicians will take more seriously the problem of the animal situation in Romania, because unfortunately all the social life depends on politics decisions. And some of the participants to this edition will wish may be to develop an educational program in their own country. I could offer the text book which is in English to be used by them. I have already offered the study material to Mexic.

12. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Evaluation results

49 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 91.8%

Yes/maybe - 8.2%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 87.8%

Yes/maybe - 6.1%

Maybe - 6.1%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

Yes, absolutely! - 91.8%

Yes/maybe - 8.2%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Does this entry have potential to GROW & demonstrate LEADERSHIP?

Yes, absolutely! - 87.8%

Yes/maybe - 12.2%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

5. Is this entry VIABLE?

Yes, absolutely! - 89.8%

Yes/maybe - 8.2%

Maybe - 2%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%


Yes, absolutely! - 85.7%

Yes/maybe - 14.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

7. FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions or used an old model in a new way - 100%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 82.9%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 60%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 62.9%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 94.3%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 60%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 37.1%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 66.7%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 50%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 55.6%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 44.4%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: Your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 22.2%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon - 11.1%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 100%

Other option - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Cristina Radu

I believe that education is the most important gift (and must) for us and for the new generation. We must understand, love and protect nature. In 2020 this isn’t a hobby for people with good hearts but a must for all of us!.. I love the initiative of Mrs.Cristina Lapis, i see the good impact of her projects in Romania. I totally vote and support her initiative!

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