Get involved and make a difference

By Drum Digital
01 July 2014

With staggering statistics such as 3 500 babies being abandoned in South Africa every year, nobody could blame you if you feel like you read about an abandoned baby in the media every day. But how can you make a difference and what should you do if you happen to find an abandoned child?

Shocking statistics

The National Adoption Coalition of South Africa (Nacsa) published a report in May this year stating that 4,5 of the 18,5 million children in SA currently live without either of their parents. The report also estimates that 3 500 children were abandoned in South Africa in 2010. Unfortunately there are no numbers for the following years as there’s currently no organisation documenting these cases.

Johannesburg NGO Door of Hope takes in abandoned children and says approximately three babies are abandoned in the greater Johannesburg area alone every day.

How to report an abandoned baby

Door of Hope representative Marcelle Coertze says it’s always best to contact police first. A police station is the first place the parents of a missing child will enquire and the police service has social workers on hand to see to the baby’s care, she explains.

“Even if the baby’s mother feels she cannot take care of her child, it is best that she takes him or her to a police station and leaves them there rather than abandoning them somewhere and risking their death.”

However, Door of Hope and other similar organisations often also have a “hole in the wall” or “baby bin” with motion sensors to alert staff when a baby has been left there. “The important thing is for people to spread the word about these organisations,” Coertze says.

How can you make a difference?

A lot of people feel powerless when hearing or reading about abandoned babies, but the truth is we can all make a difference. You can offer your time, expertise or funds to centres that help abandoned children in your area. A lot of organisations also allow you to visit the children under supervision and lend a hand, after a screening process.

Go to your province’s website to see a list of nonprofit organisations that help children in your area or try any of these websites for more information:

  • charitysa.co.za
  • joburg.org.za
  • rainbownation.com
  • doorofhope.co.za
  • shepherdskeep.org.za
  • doxadeo.co.za

  • Call Fikelela Children's Centre in Khayelitsha on 021-367-0089 or
  • House Heneka in Tshwane on 012-991-3883.

-Londiwe Dlomo

Sources: www.westerncape.gov.za, charitysa.co.za, rainbownation.com, joburg.org.za, doorofhope.co.za, adoptioncoalitionsa.org

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