Doctor to drive 2 500km on a tractor with trailer for charity

Pediatric care Africa is launching its very first “On Track–Tor” 2 500km tractor- and trailer charity ride through five provinces. Due to the dramatic increase in demand for their services as a result of the many people in Mpumalanga and the rest of South Africa that has lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 lockdowns and the deteriorating economy in general, they receive many more calls for medical assistance and baby food.
According to Ms Surika van der Merwe, secretary of Pediatric care Africa, their donation income has shrunk since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, whilst the demand for services has sky-rocketed.
“Our traditional methods of fundraising such as golf days, gala dinners with auctions etc. are no longer allowed under lockdown regulations, forcing us to rethink and restructure our fundraising methodology,” Ms Van der Merwe, said.
Pediatric care Africa does not receive any financial assistance or grants from the South African Government and therefore has to generate its own income and funds. They have an annual 7 036km charity motorbike ride around South Africa every February to raise funds for children’s medical treatments, but that generates only a fraction of the funds required by them to ensure they can help defenseless children according to Ms Van der Merwe.
The promise to help children that are sick, hungry and defenseless was made by Dr Andre Hattingh almost 30 years ago, during a period he spend as a volunteer Doctor in Rwanda during the genocide.
“He is absolutely resolute to keep that promise to help children, even if it means riding on a tractor for 2 500km to be able to do so. Our children need help and it may be your child or your neighbour’s child in desperate need next time,” Ms Van der Merwe said.
They received a very welcome and generous sponsor from John Deere South Africa and MASCOR in Rockies Drift White River, who sponsored them with a brand new 6095B John Deere tractor, enabling them to carry out this charity campaign. They will begin at White RIver Square in White River on Sunday, 2 May at 9am and end at White River Square in White River on Saturday, 15 May at about 1pm.
The purpose of this ride according to Ms Van der Merwe is threefold:
To create awareness and collect funds for children in South Africa that require medical treatment and baby food. (Over 320 children were facilitated last year to see a private doctor or specialist at an average cost of R1 400 per visit for consultation, medicine and lab tests. Furthermore, surgeries for children were arranged, Pediatric care Africa responded to disasters such as Cyclone Idai, Cyclone Eloise in Limpopo, the fires in the free state in Hertzogville and surrounding areas as well as the Covid-19 pandemic, which they viewed as a natural disaster. Baby food were supplied to babies whose parents have lost their jobs, parents who are poor or to babies who live in care centers. A total of 133 ton of food parcels were hand delivered to people in food distress during the recent lockdowns.)
To create awareness of the 1 014 children being killed in South Africa yearly, 1 184 children who are subjected to attempted murder yearly, 24 387 sexual offences committed against children last year, 7 815 children who were assaulted with the intend to do grievous bodily harm and 10 829 cases of common assault which was reported against children last year. (2019/2020 SAP statistics)
To draw International attention to farm murders, as farm murders in South Africa is a major problem which affects the country as a whole. Children of farmers are often very traumatized by these events. (“Pediatric care Africa supports TJ Marais and the 911 riders on their quest to reduce farm murders in South Africa”)
“We need to raise at least R250 000 to be able to let the children that require urgent medical care, receive the medical and surgical treatment they so desperately need and deserve. We cannot do this alone, and we ask your help to enable us to help the children and people that rely on us for help,” Ms Van der Merwe concluded.
How can you get involved:
Sponsor Tractor rider, Dr Andre Hattingh per kilometre he travels by tractor.
Make a once-off or a monthly donation.
We call on all farmer unions and organisations along our tractor route to support our efforts.
We welcome donations in the form of livestock such as sheep or cattle, that we can sell-off.
Donate baby food (All types).
Donate baby milk (all types) as many mothers are not able to breastfeed their children due to medical reasons.
Donate diesel for this “On Trac-tor” charity tractor ride.
Become a volunteer with Pediatric care Africa.
Hospitals and doctors can assist us with pro bona treatment or surgery for children, as part of their CSR programs and initiatives.
The intended route:
2nd May 2021: White River/Nelspruit to Burgersfort via Sabie and Lydenburg
3rd May 2021: Burgersfort to Mokopane (Potgietersrus)
4th May 2021: Potgietersrus (Mokopane) to Thabazimbi
5th May 2021: Thabazimbi to Koster
6th May 2021: Koster to Wolmaransstad
7th May 2021: Wolmaransstad to Boshof
8th May 2021: Boshof (Stay over x 2 nights)
9th May 2021: Boshof to Winburg
10th May 2021: Winburg to Clarens
11th May 2021: Clarens to Colenso
12th May 2021: Colenso to Kingsley via Dundee
13th May 2021: Kingsley to Piet Retief
14th May 2021: Piet Retief to Badplaas
15th May 2020: Badplaas to White river via R33 & R38
“We and the children we assist, need the help of every single person as this is a community and countrywide problem and we as a community need to stand together as one.

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