Waitrose Foundation At Work

Supporting the Health and Well-being of workers at Buffelskraal, De Doorns


On a visit to one of our Waitrose Foundation grower partners in De Doorns, Buffelskraal, we had the opportunity to chat to Sister Alet van Zyl. Alet is responsible for the Waitrose Foundation supported clinic, having served the farm worker community in that position since 2018. She offers an invaluable service. Normally, access to health care facilities is a very significant challenge in rural communities, including a lack of or costly transport, the loss of working days (and income) due to time spent waiting for assistance at clinics or hospitals, and absenteeism due to illness.

Alet spends approximately 15 hours per week at the clinic, often seeing 4 to 5 people per hour. She is authorized to issue certain medications and do various screenings at the clinic (e.g. blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes). She also collects patients’ chronic medication from the main clinic in De Doorns and keeps patient files updated. She refers more serious cases to the main clinic or the nearest hospital (in Worcester).

Alet monitors the issuing of chronic medication, including more serious conditions like HIV/AIDS, or epilepsy. Women on the farm also have access to contraception through the clinic. The services offered at the clinic are hugely beneficial for parents, as basic medication for their children can be ordered through the clinic and costs deducted from their salary, thereby offering convenience and easy access which otherwise would have resulted in loss of workdays and income.

That fact that workers and their children can get quality care on the farm, brings incredible peace of mind as health is clearly regarded as a priority in this community. We commend Sister Alet for her work and we’re proud to be supporting this very important project. It is an example of many such projects on our partner farms throughout Southern Africa where the worker committee chose to apply available foundation funds to the health and well-being of their worker community.