The Anna Foundation has launched a new after-school project at the Merwida Wine Farm in Rawsonville, aimed at supporting the holistic development of 90 children between the ages of 5-18 years. The project opened its doors on Monday, January 23rd, 2023, making structured Educational, Sports, and Life Skills support available to the children.
The farm’s Social Worker, Mercia Prince, said, “When I started here 4 years ago, it became my vision to develop an after-school centre on the farm. And thanks to the Fairtrade Premium, here we are today. The fact that this is happening is really a dream come true for me. It is a baby that I am excited to nurture and see grow up.”
Merwida has been a Fairtrade farm for 10 years, ensuring a premium is received for every bottle of Fairtrade wine sold. This money goes straight back to the farm workers who decide how they would like to use it. Over the past decade, the Merwida farm workers have chosen to invest this money into various community initiatives – including an ECD centre, healthcare contributions for the farm community, and recreational clubs like their soccer, netball, and fishing teams. The Anna Foundation’s after-school programme is their most recent investment.
The three newly appointed facilitators from the farm – Zakiera Prins, Paulinda Hartenberg, and Leezan Amoldus – standing outside the newly built study centre.
Albertus van der Merwe, Fairtrade Officer at Merwida, adds, “We have an excellent Early Childhood Development Centre on the farm called Merwida Leer en Speel, that has been running for 6 years and we are confident our children are fully prepared for school when they enter Grade 1. Our concern, however, is that the under-staffed and under-resourced local state schools are not able to ensure that the older children progress through school at the required developmental levels. We felt that a well-structured after-school programme will go a long way in providing the necessary support and structure for our children on the farm to not only complete their schooling but also improve their prospects after matriculating. We contacted the Anna Foundation for support and guidance, having heard first-hand about the great work they are doing in the Western Cape”.
The Anna Foundation’s “3 Rs Programme: Reading, Running, Right-ing” is now facilitated at the farm’s newly built study centre every afternoon of the week, providing access to library facilities, sports equipment, safe supervision, and remedial support. Three local women have been employed to facilitate the professionally developed programme on a daily basis and have started attending formal monthly training workshops hosted by the Foundation. The Anna Foundation’s Project Managers also provide weekly on-site support to further empower these facilitators and assist with their on-site needs.
Facilitator Leezan Amoldus reading with two of the younger learners.
Prince expressed her gratitude, saying, “I am so grateful for the Anna Foundation – for the fact that everything is so structured, that they have fantastic development programmes, and that they are a group of devoted people. The workload is huge, and this support and groundwork of the Anna Foundation is just amazing!”
The Anna Foundation’s new after-school project at Merwida is a testament to the organization’s long-standing commitment to creating opportunities for children in rural communities. By providing access to quality education, sports facilities, and life skills support, the project aims to empower these children to reach their full potential and build a brighter future for themselves and their community.
One of the learners working on an activity.
A group of learners taking part in a sports lesson.
The three facilitators standing with a group of learners in the new after-school.