Mobile health service for remote rooibos tea farm workers launched

A partnership between Twinings, an international tea company based in the UK, and the Pebbles Project, registered NPO, has been formed to provide access to healthcare services through a mobile health clinic. The partnership is part of ‘Sourced with Care’, which is Twinings’ responsible sourcing programme.

The mobile health service will support around 800 farm workers and their children on a number of UTZ-certified* rooibos tea farms in the Clanwilliam and Citrusdal area, with wellness screenings, routine health check-ups, primary healthcare support, health and wellness workshops and over-the-counter health products.   Health workshops will be presented on topics such as family planning, maternal health, hygiene, TB and HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and lifestyle diseases. 

Pebbles Project have 17 years’ experience in supporting farming communities in the Western Cape and this will be Twinings’ first project located in South Africa.

Sophia Warner, CEO of the Pebbles Project says the lack of access to quality healthcare poses a major challenge for those working and living in farming communities in remote areas such as Citrusdal and Clanwilliam where Twinings sources indigenous South African rooibos tea. 

“Many farm workers do not receive regular health check-ups or receive the medical attention or information that they need in time, and consequently suffer risks of more serious health conditions that could have been prevented if treated earlier.  Lack of knowledge and information can also contribute to health challenges which can impact on the individual’s ability to work and care for their family.”

“The goal of the project is to enable rooibos tea farm workers to take control of their health and to receive the medical support that they need.  The service will be managed by Sr. Lenay Zimri, who has nine years’ experience in community health and a deep passion for the upliftment of the community.  Office space for the project and secure parking for the vehicle has been generously provided by Rooibos Ltd in Clanwilliam.”

Warner says that they are excited to be partnering with Twinings, enabling the Pebbles Project to expand their reach into a new geographical area while working alongside a company that is truly committed to giving back to local communities.

Céline Gilart, Head of Social Impact for Twinings, says their ‘Sourced with Care’ programme ensures that the company sources responsibly, but also act as a force for good to improve quality of life in the communities from which they source around the world. 

“Rooibos is an important part of our portfolio and we are so pleased to be working in partnership with the Pebbles Project. Our vision is for healthier, happier, empowered and sustainable communities in our supply chain and this partnership, enabling better access to healthcare, will help us achieve our vision.”

The Pebbles Project, established in 2004, provides support and intervention in the areas of education, health, nutrition, community services and social protection to around 1400 children in the farming communities of the Western Cape. The latest partnership will draw on the infrastructure of one of their existing Early Childhood Development centres based in Citrusdal to offer the healthcare services to the farming community and their families.

For more information about the work of the Pebbles Project and Twinings Sourced with Care, please visit the websites www.pebblesproject.co.za and www.sourcedwithcare.com

* UTZ is a global certification programme, part of the Rainforest Alliance, that promotes sustainable farming practices, which includes attention to the working and living conditions of farmworkers and their families.

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