On Saturday 22 May, Waitrose Foundation Manager Farm Support, Raymond Engelbrecht, spent time at Sonop Boerdery farm in Patensie in the Eastern Cape. The reason for his visit was to be part of a workshop facilitating the decision-making process around a proposed Family Well-being Programme that will enhance the personal development of workers and their families. This programme is one of the Special Projects offered to interested farms and can be integrated with their existing social development projects.
Elmarie Bekker, responsible for the Packhouse, Cold Room and Logistics at Sonop and Project Coordinator along with the farm worker committee members organised the event, prepared the meeting space and ensured that everyone enjoyed coffee on arrival. This was the first time that workers from both farming units socialised on a Saturday morning. After the workshop briefing, they were divided into small discussion groups. Group representatives were asked to give feedback about the lessons learnt during their discussions thus encouraging participation and developing communication and presentation skills. They focused on the comparison between producing quality fruit and building quality families, becoming aware of how agricultural principles can be transferred to building their families and communities.
The medium of art was used for workers to create personal visions for their families and this reminded them about how important it is to involve their children when crafting these visions. The separate groups then combined their individual sketches to create collages that will be used in the future during the implementation of the Family Well-being Programme, if the project is given a go-ahead by the workers and farm management.
The WF (SA) team look forward to our next interaction with them. Special thank you to the committee and Elmarie for all the arrangements, as well as the owners Lomon and Josef Ferreira who gave permission and spent some time with their workers at the event.