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Good health by the cupful

Written by Allison Cooper

The Pebbles Project  and UK-based tea company Twinings have teamed up to help farmworkers stay healthy.Rooibos tea farmworker Johanna Beukes with Sister Lenay Zimri, who runs the new mobile health service.

Tea farmworkers and their families, in remote parts of the Western Cape, now have access to healthcare closer to their homes, as a result of a mobile health service in the area.

The mobile clinic was launched by non-profit organisation, the Pebbles Project, and Twinings, a United Kingdom-based tea company, to support around 800 farmworkers and their families on a number of rooibos tea farms in Clanwilliam and Citrusdal.

The mobile clinic conducts wellness screenings and provides routine health check-ups, primary healthcare support and over-the-counter health products.

It will also conduct health and wellness workshops on topics such as family planning, maternal health, hygiene, TB, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and lifestyle diseases. 

Sophia Warner, the Chief Executive Officer of the Pebbles Project, says a lack of access to quality healthcare poses a major challenge for those working and living in farming communities in remote areas where Twinings sources rooibos tea. 

“Many farmworkers do not receive regular health check-ups or the medical attention or information they need in time, and consequently suffer risks of more serious health conditions that could have been prevented if treated earlier.”

A lack of information also contributes to health challenges which impacts the farmworkers' ability to work and care for their families.

“The goal of the project is to enable rooibos tea farmworkers to take control of their health and receive the medical support they need,” says Warner.

Albert Smit, from a farm in Jakkalvlei, says the farmworkers are grateful. “We are so happy© As a result of the service, we have less staff having to visit the local clinic and less absenteeism at work,” he adds.

The Pebbles Project’s partnership with Twinings is part of the company’s responsible sourcing programme called Sourced with Care.

Céline Gilart, the Head of Social Impact for Twinings, says Sourced with Care ensures that the company sources responsibly, but also acts as a force for good to improve the quality of life in communities from which it sources.