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Friday, December 8, 2023

Pebbles Project: 19 years of transforming farming communities

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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.






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 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.





“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.


READ MORE: CPT man trades the UK to feed the hungry in Lavender Hill

Lizell Persens
Lizell Persens
Lizell is a Cape Town-based news anchor, reporter and transcriptionist. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and started her career as a TV producer. The avid reader enjoys writing poems, fast cars, music, travelling, and exploring new food.

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