The Ingwe Team
Debbie Fermor: Owner & Manager
Born in Cape Town and married with two sons, Debbie relocated in 1996 to Plettenberg Bay to open a family owned restaurant. Finding restaurant life was not fulfilling and having worked for non-profit organisations in the marine mammal and environmental education fields to sales and marketing in the tourism industry, a solid foundation for a business of her own was born.
Using innate entrepreneurship skills and extensive experience in the development of youth, Ingwe Forest Adventures was established in 2004 and received endorsement from the Western Cape Education Department in 2009.
Being a founding member of The Southern Crags Conservancy, which is part of the Eden to Addo Corridor, and since a child having a great love and appreciation of the outdoors, she looked at ways to conserve our natural environment and make a living.
Unwavering belief in the potential of people to face and overcome challenging obstacles has culminated in her taking on the challenge of developing Ingwe into a venue renowned for adventures that produce real learning results and promote conservation awareness for both youths and adults. Being a keen mountain biker and outdoor adventurer herself has given her the opportunity to work and play at the same time. A very happy and fulfilling combination indeed!
Debbie is also the Environmental Education Director of the Section 21 registered non-profit organisation, The Green Ticket; a climate change initiative promoting environmental awareness and green economies, plus she is actively involved in many other social upliftment projects and is known as; ‘Debbie Ingwe’ locally!
Her involvement at Ingwe extends beyond design of learning processes and facilitation, to the overall management and co-ordination of Ingwe as a top class venue.
Debbie is extremely proud of her team at Ingwe and is grateful that their days are mostly filled with fun and laughter together.
Kathy Terblanche: Head of Programme Development
Kathy officially joined the Ingwe team during 2011, but has always been a part of what has been developing at Ingwe since it was first built back in the late 1990’s.
She has been teaching in one form or another since the early 1970’s. Raised in Minnesota USA, where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Health Education. After receiving her Bachelor’s degrees she spent 10 years working for the YMCA. She then returned to school to obtain a Master of Arts degree in Science Education. After one year teaching for the St. Joseph, MO School District, Kathy moved to California and spent 7 years teaching in various capacities for the Orange County Department of Education in their Outdoor Science School programme.
While Kathy has always had a passion for the outdoors; it was while teaching in the OSS programme, that she discovered her talent in igniting a passion for the outdoors in others. At Ingwe, Kathy really enjoys using problem solving and decision-making activities to help people work as more cohesive teammates, as well as giving them skills to aid in making responsible decisions related to the environment.
Kathy has a knack of thinking up amazing activities at the drop of a hat when those moments call for a “filler”. Apart from her academic skills, her wonderful sense of humor and compassion for the environment and people makes her the ideal team leader for the development and improvement of programmes at Ingwe
Doreen Rex: Head of Housekeeping & Kitchen
Doreen has been with Ingwe since almost the beginning and is more than just an employee, she is like the mama of Ingwe. She keeps the kitchen and facilities spick and span and knows where everything is! Her culinary skills and sharp wit, has made the Ingwe kitchen very popular with the regulars coming back for more of her fabulous food.
Born in the Eastern Cape, but spent most of her life just down the road in Kurland Village, Doreen is married with 3 sons and is a well-respected member of the community and is the longest standing staff member. She is passionate about children and often is called upon to translate for our Xhosa youth groups being tri-lingual! Doreen never fails to volunteer her services when called upon to assist with community emergencies such fire relief co-ordination or anything to do with the upliftment of disadvantaged youth.
A glorious energetic bundle of happiness, not much gets her down and she takes good care of everyone who works or visit Ingwe.
Siyabonga Sijila: Gardens & Maintenance
Siya was part of the original team who helped construct the buildings at Ingwe and also lives on the farm. The long-time gardener moved on to greener pastures and Siya stepped into the position in June 2013.
He is a part-time employee who assists with general maintenance and keeping the gardens beautiful! A quiet and humble man who takes pride in his work, plus always being willing to assist wherever needed. In the last year Siya has assisted on the obstacle course and has a unique gentleness of encouragement to get people to overcome their fears and tackle obstacles they thought they couldn’t. He truly is a rare find indeed and fits in with the team well.
Fiona Palmer: Kitchen Assistant
Fiona is Siya’s wife and is also lives on the farm is a part time employee who assists Doreen with all aspects of kitchen and housekeeping duties on an as-needed basis.
A quiet and kind person who is the mother of one son. Fiona has exceptional skills in creating the most beautiful salads under the watchful eye of Doreen. A hard worker and who is honest and takes pride in all she does. Ingwe hopes to include her to become a full-time staff member in the near future.
Joanie Korkee: Kitchen Assistant
Joanie has worked for Debbie at her home for about 18 years and is a back-up staff member for when there are large groups. Joanie and Doreen have known each other for many years and have a solid friendship. It’s all smiles and lots of conversation in the kitchen when Joanie is at Ingwe!
Joanie is a grandmother of one cute little boy and mother to a son and daughter. She was born in Vrendendal but has spent most of her life here in Kurland Village. Joanie is a kind a sweet lady, an upstanding member of the local community and a regular church goer. She is also a volunteer at Kranshoek Community growing project and gets along with anyone.
Nature’s Valley Trust:
The Nature’s Valley Trust has been facilitating an award winning environmental education and community outreach programme for the last 14 years, reaching more than 5 000 participants annually, with 2013 being an exceptional year reaching more than 8 000 participants. Ingwe and NVT have been working together since 2004 and in 2009 forged a stronger partnership, working together to enhance the skill and expertise of both organisations.
Under the guidance and mentorship of Dr Mark Brown, these interns have become an important part of the Ingwe team assisting on youth camps as facilitators bringing an excellent mix of multi-cultural and academic backgrounds; an aspect vitally important and greatly valued at Ingwe on their youth programmes.