Chris van Beljon, who founded the organisation Boere Droogtehulp SA NPC, made another very welcome delivery of fodder to Aberdeen last week.
To date, van Beljon has sent 19 loads to Aberdeen, in response to appeals from individual farmers.
There are many organisations raising money for drought relief, and there is some scepticism that not all of these are genuine. According to van Beljon, Boere Droogtehulp is the only organisation that does not ask the farmers for money. He posts appeals for funding, mainly for transport costs, on social media, and has stalls at farmers’ events and golf days to sell merchandise to raise money. Some of the fodder is donated by farmers in more fertile regions, and waste grass cutting for road maintenance has also been baled and sent.
He arranges deliveries to many drought-stricken areas of South Africa, and Aberdeen became a regular stop after his mother, who lives in the town, asked for help for some of those known personally to her.
“Each person who contacts me for help must nominate eight or nine others who are also in need,” said van Beljon, explaining that he would then arrange a delivery for that group. As well as feed for the livestock, he has also helped a farmer with a new solar water pump, given food and supplies, and assisted farm workers with donations of blankets, food and warm clothing.
Annette Verwey is one of the beneficiaries. “We had our last proper rain in 2014. From 2015 we have had to give supplementary food to our animals, and since 2016 we have been feeding all the sheep, as there is absolute nothing in the veld for them to eat,” she explained. “This drought is very severe, the worst I’ve ever seen. It breaks one not only financially but emotionally too,” she continued. “I am very grateful for the help I receive from Chris and his organisation, it is such a great relief when I get the message that a truck with food for us is on its way”.
Also very grateful for van Beljon’s help is Hanlie van Rensburg. “The drought sucks the life of animals and humans, but Chris is like an angel the Lord sent to earth,” said an emotional Hanlie. “Because of Chris, our animals live and therefore, we too can live.”