A ten-year partnership is something to celebrate, especially when this partnership helped open the doors to sustainable change for children and families in the farming communities of the Western Cape. It was in 2008, that Founding Director of Pebbles Project, Sophia Warner, approached the Grier family of Villiera Wines with her intentions to lease office space on their farm in order to be at the epicentre of the Winelands where she hoped to make the greatest impact in children’s lives. What was initially meant to be a two-year rent-free lease of property has since turned to a successful 10 years out of the 14 years that Pebbles has been in operation.
Not only are there now two Pebbles offices on the farm (the initial request was for one) but the Owethu Clinic also operates from Villiera where it offers medical and dental services to children, farmworkers and the general public. Primary health care is the focus of the clinic and services offered include wellness checks, PDP medicals, treatment of basic illness, dental screenings, family planning and immunisations. Benefits of the clinic, which is based on Villiera Wine Farm in Koelenhof, include short waiting times and thus less time lost from work, and certified medical professionals with the authority to dispense.
“We are so thankful to Simon, Cathy, Jeff and the whole Villiera team for the kindness and generosity that they have shown us over the last 10 years. Whenever we approach them for help (which we do on a regular basis!), nothing is ever too much trouble for them,” said Sophia Warner.
Villiera Wine Estate has a long and established history as a socially responsible winery with a strong focus on water conservation, recycling and a greening project (currently in progress), which entails the planting of 1000's of indigenous trees on the farm. The farm supports a number of upliftment projects for its people including parent training workshops facilitated by Pebbles; vegetable growing projects of farm staff.
“Pebbles has given us peace of mind in that we know that our children are in the best possible hands. Pre-school kids have a fantastic base when entering the schooling system. The after school club supports children throughout their school career and with tertiary education. In addition, Pebbles is looking after the healthcare of our whole community with the Owethu Clinic. Parents are relaxed knowing that their kids are in good hands. The children are a pleasure to be around,” adds Villiera Viticulturist, Simon Grier
It is this focus on mutually beneficial and sustainable business practices that inspired the Grier family to take the efforts of the estate one step further by teaming up with the Pebbles Project all those years ago. Together with Sophia Warner, the passionate founder of the Pebbles Project, they continue to be committed to changing lives of the farmworker communities together.
Cheers to another 10 years!