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The Pebbles Project – A Life-Changing Journey

By Liesl Ahlers

What was supposed to be a holiday to South Africa in 2003 for UK-based special needs teacher, Sophia Warner, resulted in establishing an organisation that has touched and changed so many lives. This is how the Pebbles Project, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, was created. For the seed to grow, Sophia, with the help of her sister, Lucy, needed wine farms to come on board to assist, and the Pebbles Project became a reality with the first five member farms, namely Bellevue, Delheim, Eikendal, Remhoogte and Villiera. Since its inception in 2004, the organisation has impacted the lives of many children and their families by providing support and intervention in their five identified key areas: Education, Health, Nutrition, Community and Protection. The main objective is to enrich the lives of disadvantaged children and families in the agricultural communities of the Western Cape. Pebbles focuses on the entire life of the child and the challenging circumstances in which they live to make a significant and lasting difference. This is achieved through providing support and training to Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres on farms and establishing an after-school provision for older children living in the Cape Winelands and beyond. Initially, the objective was to create only the ECD centres, but over the years other integral needs were identified, which led to the establishment of 19 after-school clubs and two clinics, as well as access to primary schools to allow for quality education for learners between the ages of six and 13 years, enabling them to reach their full academic potential. The Pebbles Clinic, launched in 2014, offers accessible healthcare services, promotes preventative care and extends a range of medical treatments to patients. One of the dream items on Sophia’s list was to establish a kitchen to feed the families who are part of the Pebbles Project. In 2019, this dream turned into a reality with the launch of The Pebbles Kitchen, a 450sqm food production facility based at Klein Joostenberg in Stellenbosch where approximately 2 500 meals are produced each day. In 2023, a skills development centre at the Pebbles Hemel-en-Aarde Education Project (HEAEP), near Hermanus, was launched to expand opportunities for young adults. The HEAEP project comprises the Pebbles Academy, an ECD centre, and its latest addition, a skills development centre. Young adults from nearby farming communities, who form part of the Pebbles Project Early Adulthood Programme, will be utilising the centre on a full-time basis. The training offered will include a combination of soft and hard skills, to ultimately equip young adults to secure gainful employment. There will be a focus on developing strong interpersonal skills, self-confidence and discipline, which are key drivers in creating the leaders of tomorrow. Although a South African-based NPO, the Pebbles Project has been able to change the lives of so many families through the generous support of local and international donors, who have seen the amazing work that the organisation has done and continues to do. For more information, visit The Pebbles Project Email: Tel: +27 82 5630688


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