In South Africa we have a great many babies – apparently some 3500 known cases – that are abandoned annually.
These are the ‘lucky ones’ that get found alive because figures show that for every abandoned child found alive, two are found dead. Some of their deaths are intentional others unintentional.
This is the typical journey of the babies that are found alive: They are often discovered in plastic bags or tucked behind clinic buildings, in dustbins, on driveways or in public bathrooms. They get handed to the police who hand them to the courts who hand them to Child Welfare who hand them to us. We run a Baby Home. A place that wants those abandoned babies that no one else does; a place that loves children in a way that all children need and deserve to be loved.
Trouble is, there is simply too many of these little ones. A Baby Home like the one our NGO runs in Durban North, Kwa-Zulu Natal is registered as a place of safety, specifically for abandoned babies and children in need of care and protection. Legally, we can have up to 6 babies/toddlers in our care. But a recent crisis which involves the Kwa-Zulu Natal Department of Social Development all-but halting adoptions in the province, has meant that Baby Homes like ours are having to take in 7,8,9 and 10 babies at a time. This is dangerous and compromises our ability to care for and love each child individually. But what can be done? These babies are in severe crisis and need immediate care.
As an NGO we are beginning an initiative to address this crisis. We cannot afford to keep opening Baby Homes like the one in Durban North, but we can support individuals who have the heart and the capacity to take in one baby at a time and care for them until permanent arrangements can be made for that child. This could be for a weekend, a week or a few months. It is what is known as Kangaroo Parenting and it is a life-changing intervention for any child who has experienced the trauma of being abandoned or given up by their parents.
If you are in the Durban area, please consider joining us in this effort. Perhaps you are not in KZN or South Africa – or perhaps you know that Kangaroo Parenting is not for you – but you would be able to assist us with formula, nappies, clothes or funds. All assistance would be most welcome. We are BBBEE level 1 and a fully registered NPO and PBO.
Should you wish to find out more about becoming a Kangaroo Parent, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you wish to support the initiative with donations or funds please e-mail email@example.com.