Isabelo Continues to Enrich the Lives of Franschhoek Community

Isabelo Continues to Enrich the Lives of Franschhoek Community
Isabelo Continues to Enrich the Lives of Franschhoek Community

Earlier this year, Defy donated a significant number of appliances to critical hospitals around the country during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to improve the conditions of healthcare workers in South Africa. The intention was that their appliances would allow healthcare workers to enjoy some home comforts during the long shifts required to care for COVID-19 patients. Applying the same philosophy, Defy once again donated various appliances to our often unsung heroes, this time in the form of Margot Janse, Managing Director of the Isabelo charity in Franschhoek.

Janse was identified as a hero with a heartfelt cause who needed help. Keeping food fresh and warm was a challenge for the schools supported by Isabelo and that was solved with the delivery of Defy appliances on 25 November 2020. Four grateful schools humbly accepted the donation to excited fanfare as Defy, along with the Isabelo team, delivered refrigerators, chest freezers and microwaves to Dalubuhle Primary School, Little Dolphins Early Learning Centre, Kusasa Early Learning Centre and Weseind Primary School, all located in the Franschhoek area in the Western Cape.

No child can learn on an empty stomach

During Women’s Month, Defy ran the Mzansi Queen campaign to honour women making a significant difference in their communities. Through this campaign, Janse was identified as a significant contributor to her community but more so the needs of young children.

Janse, a professional chef at The Tasting Room (Le Quartier Français) in Franschhoek for 20 years, started feeding hungry minds in the community in 2009. She started baking and delivering muffins to a small local playschool with 70 hungry children every Friday out of The Tasting Room kitchen. Soon, Janse was able to increase the supply of healthy meals to over 100 children in two different pre-schools, five days a week.

In 2011, Isabelo started feeding warm, nutritious lunches to 185 children across three schools, all prepared by the team at the restaurant. In 2017, Isabelo moved from the restaurant to its own new premises in Franschhoek, which is now the distribution centre for all the food. Isabelo continues to work hard to feed hungry minds by providing 40 600 warm lunches and 296 380 healthy breakfasts to the children in the Franschhoek Valley in 2020.

Says Janse, “The Isabelo project has proven to be awe-inspiring and has surpassed expectations. I strive to continue and grow this initiative and, with continued support, have no doubt that it will change the lives of more children than we ever imagined possible.”

The Defy reason for existence is to support its employees, the communities it operates in and most importantly, the consumer to create a better life for themselves and their families. Their slogan “Believe in Better’ bears testament to this purpose. Isabelo gives young children a reason to believe in a brighter future, which Defy strongly supports through their Believe in Better ethos.

Supporting communities around South Africa

Defy is no stranger to supporting communities around South Africa through various initiatives. Earlier this year, the company joined forces with the University of Cambridge to develop and produce life-saving mechanical ventilators that are key to battling South Africa’s coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative brought together the extensive research, design, manufacturing, and testing capabilities to mass-produce the cost-effective mechanical ventilators named Impilo, meaning ‘life’ in Zulu and Xhosa. The mechanical ventilators are being produced in Defy’s Jacobs factory in KwaZulu-Natal and supported by 17 local suppliers – each responsible for various device components.

The brand’s slogan ‘Believe in Better’ goes beyond just its products. Defy consistently applies this belief to everything they do and wants customers to know that they are more than just an appliance manufacturer. They have been a part of South Africa for over 115 years and always have and will continue to support local initiatives.

For more information about Margot Janse and the Isabelo project, or to donate and make a difference, visit

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