DR. SUSAN CHADIMA, front row left, and members of the Kabul Rotary Club. Chadima was recognized recently for her work as veterinarian in Afghanistan.

DR. SUSAN CHADIMA, front row left, and members of the Kabul Rotary Club. Chadima was recognized recently for her work as veterinarian in Afghanistan.


Dr. Susan Chadima, founder of the Androscoggin Animal Hospital in Topsham and past president of the Rotary Club of Brunswick, was awarded the Service Above Self Award, Rotary’s highest honor, on Monday.

Nominated by Rotary District Governor Sheila Rollins, Chadima was described as a “remarkable hero” as she has taken up residence in Kabul, Afghanistan to help build a peaceful democracy through her work as a veterinarian and teacher of veterinary medicine. The award is internationally competitive and is granted to no more than 150 Rotarians worldwide.

In 2005, Dr. Chadima traveled to Kabul as a volunteer in international veterinary services. The need was great. The war left many injured farm animals and the Taliban did not allow Afghans to keep pets. Abandoned dogs and cats ran wild in the streets and canine rabies was widespread.

Chadima returned many times in the following years. In 2013, with the help of the Brunswick Rotary Club and a District 7780 grant, she received funding to refurbish a veterinary teaching clinic which benefited the students of the Kabul University Department of Veterinary Medicine.

In 2011, Dr. Chadima became chief veterinarian of Nowzad, a non-profit in Kabul that provides surgeries and medical services to stray animals. Nowzad manages the necessary licensing and immunizations to help troops take home the animals they have befriended during their deployment, helping reduce PTSD as well as the number of stray animals.

Dedicated not only to her work with animals, Sue Chadima is doing her part to help Afghanistan grow into a democracy. She is committed to her volunteerism, which is creating a safer and healthy environment for both humans and animals. She was instrumental in starting a Rotary Club of Kabul City which has been chartered by Rotary International.

Now residing in Kabul, Chadima holds a position in the Afghani Ministry of Agriculture where she helps develop federal policy involving animal husbandry and food production. For the past 10 years, Chadima has put herself literally in the line of fire in order to do the work she is trained to do, without adequate supplies and with minimal funding.

Kabul remains a dangerous place. The UN estimates that 3,700 civilians died in Afghanistan in 2014. As a western woman, Chadima is a particular target of both ISIS and the Taliban. Her husband, who remains in Maine at his architectural firm, is concerned about Susan’s safety, but knows that she is doing work that is meaningful for her and for which she has been trained. They stay in touch via a daily phone call.

The presentation of the Service Above Self Award was held at “The Daniel” on Water Street in Brunswick and was attended by District Governor Sheila Rollins who made the presentation. Also honoring Dr. Chadima was the 2012-2013 Service Above Self recipient from Harpswell, John Dennen. Other honorees present were Ann Lee Hussey and Carolyn Johnson, both Service Above Self recipients from District 7780. Presiding over the ceremony was President of the Brunswick Rotary Club, Valerie Campbell.

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