Alyssa Carter was 6-years-old when she decided that rhinos needed her help.
On Saturday, a year-and-a-half later, she handed two Belgian shepherd dogs worth R100 000 each to the Marakele National Park in the North West to aid in fighting poachers.
Alyssa told Netwerk24 on Sunday that she was in Grade 1 when she first heard about the endangered animals. She was told that rhinos are killed for their horns.
“It hurt my heart and I wanted to do something to help them,” she said.
“I drew a picture of a rhino and showed it to my mom and dad. I wanted us to make stickers and sell them to raise money, but then we decided to rather sell chocolate, cookies and sweets.”
Brian Carter, Alyssa’s father, said he, his wife Natalie and Alyssa put their heads together and decided to sell chocolates and sweets to raise funds.
A sweets company agreed to make chocolates and cookies using the picture Alyssa drew as an outline for the cookie.
Alyssa first sold the goodies at her school and church, but later branched out to markets.
The SANParks Honorary Rangers invited the family to a breakfast with Louis Lemmer, head of the Honorary Rangers’ executive committee, who told them how dogs were used to catch poachers.
It was then that Alyssa decided she wanted to buy dogs with the money she had raised.
On Saturday, Alyssa and her family handed two of those dogs over to the SANParks Honorary Rangers. They are two-years-old and already trained.
“I can visit my dogs anytime,” Alyssa told Netwerk24 excitedly.
Thus far, Alyssa has raised almost R300 000.
Her father said Alyssa would continue her project until she had enough money to buy one more dogs.