The Pebbles Project is a well-established non-profit organization that provides quality educational programmes to farmworker communities and children in the Winelands of the Western Cape. In addition, the organization also provides health services and nutritional services.
NEARLY TWO DECADES OF SOWING INTO THE LIVES OF CHILDREN
After nearly two decades of changing the lives of agricultural communities, founder and CEO Sophia Warner (55) says she never envisioned this level of exponential growth:
“So with the education, we have early childhood development centres, and after-school clubs on the farms. We have about 52 facilities that we’re supporting. With the health services, we’ve got a clinic here in Stellenbosch, so all the farmworkers and their children can come to the clinic. In Clanwilliam, we’ve got a mobile clinic, so that goes around the rooibos farms, and then in the other areas, our team from Stellenbosch goes out to do wellness screenings for all of the ‘pebbles children’ in all of the different areas.”
The NPO works in a number of areas including Stellenbosch, Citrusdal, Wellington and Hermanus. pic.twitter.com/u6sDYGFycj
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THE AREAS IN WHICH THEY WORK
The well-run and reputable NPO currently assists a total of 1 400 children and employs 101 members of staff. Their work is carried out at 11 farms in Stellenbosch, Citrusdal, Wellington, Grabouw, Hermanus and Clanwilliam (all agricultural communities).
Warner, who is originally from the United Kingdom, initially visited South Africa with the aim of only staying for 3 months. She fell in love with the country, and saw the need to provide quality education, where there was a lack of services.
“I think one of the biggest challenges for the agricultural communities is the lack of access, to quality education, quality healthcare, and quality nutrition. A lot of it due to the remoteness of the farms.”
Now, her NPO helps these individuals from conception up until the age of 25.
THE URGE TO HELP
“I saw potential. There were children sitting on these farms, not attending any pre-school or creche, with no-one to help them with their homework. There’s potential sitting right there, within these communities. For me it was a no-brainer. I’ve got the skills, education and expertise and here was a need.”
The organization plans to expand on it offering in communities it currently works in before expanding to other areas.