April 21 2013 – by Adriana Stuijt. South African squatter-camp resident Irene van Niekerk, 15, has all the odds stacked against her: the Afrikaner girl has lived in a squatter camp for the past six years, suffers hearing loss from chronic infections; and is chronically malnourished: only eating ‘when food is available’ at the camp. Yet this amazingly resilient barefoot long-distance athlete still managed to win 27 gold medals at her school athletics events in both the 800m and the 1500m races. And she runs on mutilated feet:
She’s been practising from the age of seven…
The shy young girl says she has been running since she was seven years old, running two-three times a day. She knows she’s definitely a long-distance runner. “I love to run, I think about God, he’s helping me, he talks to me when I run, He says I must never stop, I ask Him to help me go far..and fast.’ she said in an interview with US pastor Skip Moen, who discovered her living in one of the many white squatter camps in Pretoria, South Africa.
Irene ‘s latest time in the 1500m was 4:48 at a Krugersdorp school-meet in March 2013: the world record for under 15′s is 4:00. Clearly, this girl is a winner.
All she needs is some friends to help her get out of that squatter camp, where the pretty 15-year-old is very vulnerable.
And she found such a friend all the way across the ocean, in far-way USA last year: Pastor Moen, who often travels to South Africa for his work and religious teaching through his mission ‘At God’s Table’, has given us permission to publish the video in which he interviewed her: he says he was very impressed: she is an amazing girl with incredible stamina;
He said there are many hundreds of thousands of whites just like Irene live in white squatter camps who receive no help from the SA government at all: no food-aid, no survival benefits.
He writes: : “Squatter camps are a tragedy all over South Africa, but (Irene Van Niekerk’s) plight (in a Pretoria squatter camp); God had brought to my attention. It is a shame to see how these people are treated by a government that should know what it means to be left on the outside’…’
He writes: ” Irene is a 15-year-old, beautiful, blond-haired, white Afrikaner who lives with her family in a squatter-camp because in South Africa the government policies prevent her parents from working and consign her family to legalized abuse. This is the only life Irene has ever known. And below is the place where Irene lives.“
TOP PICTURE: IRENE. bottom picture: her home:
Writes Moen: “They eat when there is food. They bathe where there is water. But they praise God everyday for what He has given them. When Irene was a child, boiling water spilled on her feet. She lost most of her toes.
Moen writes: “But Irene didn’t quit. Now Irene runs – fast and far. She is a champion long distance runner from a place that no one wants to admit even exists in a world where she is a complete outsider. Each time that Irene runs, people notice. Each time she wins, she moves just a bit further away from the victimized life of the camps. Irene is running away from her poverty one race at a time until someone finally sees that she is a winner, an over-comer, a young girl who needs to be given a better opportunity to succeed. Irene needs sponsors to enter these events. The government provides nothing, not even school assistance. But we can help Irene. Will you join with the rest of the community to become a sponsor of a poor white girl in the midst of a racially motivated government?
Through his efforts in 2012, Pastor Moen has managed raise $2000 from nine US and UK donors after bringing Irene’s plight to the attention of his supporters on his blog and facebook page. Late last year, they bought her some running shoes which were specifically fitted for her mutilated feet – but these were stolen by drug-addict in her camp and sold. So she still runs barefoot – as indeed do many athletes in South Africa.
He wrote on March 17 2013 on his blog: ” We have paid for Irene to see a doctor only to find out that she had partial hearing loss due to multiple infections. So we got her to surgery to do what we could. Her immediate need is for a steady stream of monthly small amounts to assist with running expenses, travel, entry fees and food. We set up a fund through American and British contributions, but it wasn’t very large and will be exhausted without more donations.
“Her immediate need is for a steady stream of monthly small amounts to assist with running expenses, travel, entry fees (to athletic events) and food. We set up a fund through American and British contributions, but it wasn’t very large and will be exhausted without more donations. She lives near Pretoria. Luzette Wessels is my operations chief for all the work and teaching I do through ‘At God’s Table’ in South Africa: none of us get paid for any of this. It’s all volunteer.”
FACEBOOK ‘At God’s Table” – http://www.facebook.com/pages/At-Gods-Table-by-Skip-Moen/159285227460678?sk=notes
BLOG: http://skipmoen.com/tag/irene/ At God’s Table: A US-registered, 501c3 non-profit organization, so all donations are tax deductible. All major credit cards are accepted and processed safely and securely through PayPal. http://skipmoen.com/donate/ At God’s Table 15000 Thoroughbred Lane Montverde, FL 34756
To establish the present extent of the ‘poor white problem’, a mapping project has been launched by the FarmitrackerAid charity inside South Africa. The purpose is to try and pull all the sites together on one map, with addresses and links to local helpers so that they can be contacted if someone needs their help. The previous nationwide survey by Solidarity trade union’s Helping Hand charity in 2008 found some 460 sites with more than 800,000 impoverished whites. From January 2010 to April 2013, another 210 new sites were located. The current mapping programme encourages people to notify them of any Afrikaner in their area who is destitute and in urgent need of help. http://farmitrackeraid.org/white-squatter-camps-in-south-africa/