Anouk Thibaud


Director of the Refuge de Darwyn, Geneva

Situation professionnelle en 2019

"My strength ? The determination that bubbles inside me and allows me to deal with everything this job throws at me !"

My career path

I set up the Refuge de Darwyn in 2000. It’s an association that looks after horses and donkeys. It’s really taken off in Switzerland, and in France as well. Our main role is to care for horses that have been mistreated, but we also help people who have to find a new home for their horses, especially old people who have to go into a home themselves. Rescuing horses requires a lot of financial resources, and we have to raise large amounts of money. And then there’s the administrative burden. There are seven of us on staff, plus around 50 volunteers. The shelter has helped 430 horses. It takes up a lot of time – my job has become my life !

My passion. All aspects of my job are truly inspiring – rescuing a horse, helping it to recover, sharing what we do with our members, finding a new home for an animal, and observing an animal’s ill-treatment in order to rescue it. We also have to organize events to raise awareness, take part in information sessions to promote animal welfare, and reply to journalists or questionnaires to try and encourage young people to make their dreams come true from nothing. If tomorrow I hit the jackpot, I wouldn’t change anything in my professional life, although I would provide more funding to my association.

My career path. Since I was a young teenager, I’ve always sought shelter with horses. I got my first mare at 14 years of age – she was called Fleurette and she was going to end up at the butcher’s. Then I got Darwyn as a foal when I was 16. At each difficult moment in my life – like when my father passed away – my horses helped me. They are like friends. When Darwyn died in 1998, I was really down and lacked motivation. But then I took over a farm that had horses. I came across others in distress and I saved them, so I created the association with my three sisters on the committee. I was lucky to have their support, and that of my mother, my friends and Jim.

A downside or obstacle ? It’s hard to see so many animals that have been mistreated, often because of human distress. When I first created the shelter, a lot of people tried to talk me out of it, and other people looked at me like I was from another planet. You have to be able to accept your mistakes, question yourself and do things with love. If you do, then anything is possible !

I’m proud that the shelter is recognized for its contribution to animal welfare. I am very grateful that I can help to improve animal welfare, that hundreds of horses now have a better life and that I’ve helped to change mentalities and create a better future. My strength ? The determination that bubbles inside me and allows me to deal with everything this job throws at me !

The Proust Questionnaire

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Au-delà de votre profession

Sorties en moto, Harley Davidson, avec des ami-e-s, et le circuit moto. Raquettes en hiver, bon feu de cheminée, jardiner et partir en randonnée à cheval.

Des personnes qui vous inspirent

Brigitte Bardot… sans elle, la protection animale n’aurait pas autant évolué ! Nelson Mandela et surtout mon compagnon, toujours de bon conseil.

Un livre & un film

A part la lecture érotique, je ne lis pas (rire) ou alors Larmes de combat (Brigitte Bardot) et Pretty woman (Garry Marshall), Coco (Studios Pixar) et Mange Prie Aime (livre d’Elizabeth Gilbert et film de Ryan Murphy).

Un modèle

Jean-Marie Laudat, qui gérait une association pour les chevaux à la retraite, m’a beaucoup encouragée à mes débuts.

Un objet

Mon pendentif, soit le logo de mon association.

Une couleur

Le bleu, mais cela dépend pourquoi, s’habiller, une peinture de voiture… enfin voilà… bleu ira bien.

Un rêve

Faire un grand prix moto.