neilNeil Hall, Chairperson

Neil was drawn to Citrusdal after completing his university degree in 2003, with a heart to start farming and to continue his mother’s vision of creating a place of refuge for those in need in the community. 

Despite his passion and qualifications for farming, it would be years before Philadelphia Farming would become a reality. In the interim, he spent time overseas and worked in establishing and managing NuSeason, a Fruit Packaging Business in Citrusdal. All the while, being actively involved in the work Hebron Community Projects was doing in the community. In hindsight, his time working at NuSeason would prove invaluable in preparing him for the challenges of running a business and farm. 

Neil married Olivia in 2007. They felt led to start the farm in 2010, a huge leap of faith. Since then, the business has grown, and with it, a partnership with Hebron Community Projects, which has developed and strengthened with time. 

Today, Philadelphia Farming, and Hebron Community Projects are growing together to provide solutions to the problems the community of Citrusdal faces on a daily basis. Neil is committed to and passionate about setting up initiatives that will ensure sustainability, further developing the farm and HCP as a combined force for change in the community. 

He and Olivia love living on the farm, sharing their home with their two boys, Caleb and Ethan, and their faithful dog, Axle. 

Neil holds an Honours Degree in Agricultural Management, as well as a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Finance and Economics. He also serves on the board of the PPSA, the Protea Producers of South Africa.
misyMelissa Van Der Wath, Managing Director

After hearing the vision of Hebron Community Projects (HCP) and meeting Neil Hall (Chairperson) in the United States, Melissa had an unexplainable call from God to get involved with HCP in any way she could. When she visited Hebron for the first time and met the people of the Citrusdal Community, she immediately fell in love with the people and this further reaffirmed her call from God. 

Melissa, a US citizen and her husband, David, a South African citizen, together felt the community of Citrusdal tug at their hearts and souls. Melissa is passionate about connecting the US with the needs and the people of Citrusdal. David and Melissa built a house on Philadelphia Farm, to be closer and more engaged with the community. 

Melissa has a Bachelors of Science Degree in Recreational Management and a background in Project Managing. She also has an EMT (emergency medical technician) certification. Melissa has a passion for cooking and teaching. She hopes to translate these skills into training for the community.
oliviaOlivia Hall, Administrator 

Olivia has always been creative at heart, and believes strongly in the Arts as a method of healing and teaching. Olivia’s Honours thesis focussed on Drama as a medium of breaking down barriers of race and language, working with a group of High School youth in a community Drama group. She studied both Art and Drama, majoring in Drama and English at University. She also has always had a heart for community and upliftment, stemming from her days on the Community Development Committee, as a member of the Durban Youth Council. 

Olivia completed her Arts degree in 2001, after which she entered into a career as a professional actress. She performed in a variety of plays and roles, winning numerous awards. Her love for acting and her passion for people have worked hand in hand, developing a sense of empathy and understanding. She has taught Drama as well as being actively involved in Corporate Theatre as script-writer, actor and Director. 

She married Neil in 2007. Together they share a common belief and hope – that one can make a difference in the lives of others, no matter how small. They are now trying to live this belief, and to instill this in their children. Olivia handles the administrative side of Philadelphia Farming. Her two boys, Caleb and Ethan, also keep Olivia on her toes and teach her new and amazing things every day. She hopes to start a Youth Drama Group in the community in the future. 

Olivia holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and an Honours degree in Drama.
louiseLouise Smith, Management Committee Member

Louise has a love for children that is infectious, and a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of our youth. 

She was born in Malmesbury and has grown up in the Western Cape of South Africa. After completing her schooling, she worked at Tulbagh nursery in Tulbagh. Louise admits to having had a very difficult childhood, with various challenges to overcome growing up. From when she was young, Louise dreamed of being able to make a difference in the lives of children, to spare them the difficulties that she experienced firsthand as a child. 

Louise came to work at Philadelphia in 2011. Her love of children was easily evident to all, her own hope and vision completely in line with that of HCP. She took up a post on the Management Committee in 2013 and is a valued member of the HCP team. 

Louise married Okkert in 2012. Together they have two sons, Junior and Peter, and are legal guardians of her brother, Francois, who they have officially adopted.
KarlinKarlin Eloff, HCP Staff Member

We are thrilled that we have employed our first official staff member at HCP. Karlin Eloff studied Youth Ministry at the Hugenot College in Wellington. After graduating, she worked in churches, schools and family organizations with the main goal of enabling young people and their families to live their lives to the fullest for Godʼs glory.
She and her husband Sarel, a social worker, lived in the UK for 9 Years. There they gained experience in the functioning of the social systems and recourses with the hope of bringing it back to South Africa to make a difference.
As a family, they received a calling to come to Citrusdal and moved here with their two daughters in 2014.
Karlin has got a passion for youth and family ministry. We feel that her involvement with HCP is nothing short of a divine connection.
Karlin is going to focus specifically on programs suited to our youth. She is going to make connections with farmers and organizations in the area. She is going to help us to build momentum and to strategize, better enabling us to be efficient and effective in our goals and outcomes in the community.
We want to welcome her with open arms and grateful hearts and we look forward in anticipation to her involvement and all it will entail for HCP. . 



markMark Slessenger, Projects Liason 

Mark is married to Kirsty and has two boys, Joel and Liam and originates from the UK. He has been working in Christian development in Africa since 2003 firstly for Ambassadors In Sport and more recently for The Message Trust South Africa  

Mark is passionate in seeing young people from disadvantaged backgrounds given a platform to succeed so they can become leaders and role models in their families, communities and nation. 

In 2008 Mark designed and founded a football academy project in South African prisons that uses football as a tool to rehabilitate prisoners. The project has been recognised by leading international organisations in the sport for development sector as well as being recognised as the first sports academy project in Correctional Services. 

Mark additionally helped pioneer a community based football project called Hope Academy in Soweto. Hope Academy is a football for development project that holistically develops vulnerable children in South Africa in their football, faith and future. 

In 2013 Mark joined The Message Trust, a Christian charity that seeks to connect with the hardest to reach youth through community transformation, creative mission and enterprise. 

Mark is skilled in Organisational Leadership and project management and holds a Masters Degree in Organisational Leadership through Eastern University. 

He holds the FA Level 2 & FA Youth Awards Level 1 coaching qualifications. 

Specialties Include: Football for Development, Organisational Leadership, Project Management, Youth Development, Working with Vulnerable Children, Juvenile Rehabilitation and Reintegration & Rehabilitation through sport.