Opening a ‘baby safe’ in a township near Pretoria, South Africa, helps desperate mothers find a solution and give their babies a future.
In early 2013, the OM South Africa AIDS Hope team realised a grim truth told by workers at the Mamelodi City Dump: Dead babies found in plastic bags are not uncommon. In fact, it usually occurs a couple times every month (read more here).
Life is harsh for many in Mamelodi, the largest township of Pretoria with an estimated one million residents. Sometimes killing their baby seems the only solution for many women.
However, the OM AIDS Hope team and Bophelong Community Centre, a local baby shelter, envisioned another solution for desperate women. In July 2013, the baby safe opened in Mamelodi.
The initiative of the AIDS Hope team, a donation and a willing local church got the project off the ground. Now a room is set up to receive the babies at the Bophelong Community Centre, and from there they are taken to ABBA House, which seeks to find a loving family for each child.
The next step for the OM team – making sure pregnant women knew about this option for help – was equally important. This too, happened through a sponsor. The Ford Motor Company supplied posters and flyers, as well as provided staff to help the OM workers talk to woman and girls at the clinics and schools.
AIDS Hope was also given the opportunity to speak on MAMS FM radio in Mamelodi. As they shared about the baby safe, they also encouraged desperate mothers to not just drop their babies at the safe and leave, but rather take them inside and receive support in their decision.
So far, every baby received at the baby safe has been brought inside, which has allowed the mother to receive counselling and support, as well as provide the baby with a history. It also allows the ABBA House to retrieve important medical information so that the baby can be best cared for.
In one instance, a mother and father brought their baby inside and explained their desperation. They loved their child but had no way to care for her and wanted to give her up for adoption. The counsellors offered assistance and connected them to a social worker, which enabled them to keep the child.
Working together with different organisations, the AIDS Hope team is convinced the baby safe will be of real help to women in desperate situations, as well as save babies from being aborted or discarded at the dump.
AIDS Hope leader Alma Leonard explains the handover from OM to the community centre: "To me, the best part is that we took the initiative from God to help the process so that the community can take ownership of this initiative. This is what makes it sustainable. God has transferred this passion for hope and life from us to the community! We are there to encourage and support and help with the awareness campaigns and to get funds for brochures, etc.”
So far eight babies have been saved through the campaign and baby safe. The OM team praises God for saving lives.
Please pray for the situation of desperate mothers in South Africa, and that the lives of future babies will be saved.