Since its inception 16 years ago, The Pebbles Project has educated and impacted the lives of thousands of farm children through an integrated developmental approach where we enable children and young adults from agricultural communities to reach their full potential in order to become participating and responsible members of society.
This is achieved through a range of services to farmworker communities that include: education, health care, nutrition and social work services. Our intervention into the child’s life starts from conception and continues until our beneficiaries are gainfully employed.
The main emphasis of the Pebbles Project is education. We enrich the lives of disadvantaged children and families in the agricultural communities of the Western Cape. We focus on the entire life of the child and the challenging circumstances in which they live in order to make a significant and lasting difference. Since our inception in 2004, we have impacted the lives of children and their families by providing support and intervention in five key areas: Education, Health, Nutrition, Community and Protection.
Our areas of operation include Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Wellington, Citrusdal and the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in Hermanus.
Margot Janse was born and educated in The Netherlands and relocated to South Africa in 1990. Her culinary career started in 1993 in Johannesburg. In 1995 Margot joined Le Quartier Francais (Franschhoek) and The Tasting Room as Executive Chef, kick-starting a long and successful culinary evolution, rewarded with many national and international awards.
During this time Margot became evermore aware of the huge disparity between her five star gastronomic ‘day job’ and the stark reality 2 kms down the road in the townships, where poverty and hunger prevailed and children would frequently go to school on an empty stomach. Margot felt she had to do something to start making a difference, and so the idea sparked for ‘Isabelo, Feeding Hungry Minds’, a charitable initiative to feed underprivileged school children a nutritious meal each day prepared in the restaurant kitchen, so that they could concentrate in class.
After 22 years, Margot left Le Quartier Francais in 2017, to pursue various culinary projects including the running of Isabelo charity. What began with supplying 70 muffins on a Friday in 2009 has now grown into a project that now supplies a healthy breakfast and lunch daily to 1,500 children across four different primary schools of Franschhoek.
During the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020, Isabelo expanded even more, becoming part of ‘Together Franschhoek’ a collaboration between community leaders, top Franschhoek chefs and volunteers for the purpose of dealing with the COVID-19 hunger crisis together. Many residents of Franschhoek are employed in the hospitality trade, and when travel and tourism came to a sudden halt in April 2020, thousands of people in the community found themselves out of work.
Working hand in hand with 12 community soup kitchens, Together Franschhoek attracted the attention of the world’s media and has been raising funds to provide over 160,000 hot meals to those in need ever since April 2020.
The plan now is to grow the reach of Isabelo, and create a sustainable production and feeding model that communities in the future can learn, follow and ultimately, self manage.
Margot is currently;