The Pebbles Project

Towards the end of our time in South Africa, we were given the opportunity to visit South Africa’s “wine country”. On this excursion, we visited The Pebbles Project which touched my heart greatly. This one of a kind organization started out as a typical winery, employing farmers (who were typically “colored” or “black”) and produced wine as usual. One form of practice when paying a farmer who works for a winery is to pay the farmer with the wine produced, instead of money, which was a common practice in South Africa. Through this form of payment, it was common for farmers (aIMG_9270nd family members) to become addicted to alcohol. Due to the high rates of alcoholism and lack of resources for rehabilitation, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) became prominent in children. Various programs would help support single mothers, financially, offering almost 4 times as much money if their child was born with FASD. This new found support system unfortunately led to some mothers drinking
during pregnancy, specifically to get more financial support, at the cost of their unborn child. 🙁

In 2003, Sophia Warner–special needs teacher and later the founder of The Pebbles Project–realized the high rates of FASD within the farmer’s families and established “Pebbles” in 2004 to help better support children experiencing FASD. (Pebbles would later assist children who have other learning, cognitive and behavioral disorders, as well.) FASD is extremely hard to diagnose in mild-moderate cases because many of the symptoms are not physical, but emotional and mental. Most children who suffer from FASD experience issues in school, social experiences, understanding “cause and effect”, and other behavioral issues. FASD can be a very debilitating and overall frustrating for those individuals who experience it, as well as their family members and friends. FASD is not addressed much, if at all, in American society; this is unfortunate since this leaves those experiencing FASD to lack resources for support.Those who suffer from FASD have a special place in my heart due to personal factors, which is why this specific organization touched my heart the way it did. Pebbles does a fantastic job at addressing, focusing, and implementing useful skills for this population. For more information about The Pebbles Project, you can visit their website at http://www.pebblesproject.co.za/

 

 

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