Offers to adopt abused child

2006-12-06 23:20
Port Elizabeth - The tragic story of a girl who has never had a Christmas, which was carried in Die Burger and on News24 on Wednesday, has touched hearts all over the world.

The five-year-old, renamed "Annie", was badly burnt and beaten by her parents when she was admitted to burns unit of the Dora Nginza Hospital last month.

Her mother had held her hands on the stove while her father thrashed her with a belt all over her bare body, because they suspected she had stolen 30 cents from a friend.

The parents were arrested and are due to appear in court on Friday.

Kind-hearted people from Port Elizabeth to England responded immediately with phone calls and e-mail offers, ranging from money and gifts to foster care and a place of safety for Annie.

Die Burger even received offers to adopt Annie.

Wants to adopt Annie

Nicola Harkin of England sent an e-mail saying she was willing to send money and gifts "so that the cute little pre-schooler can experience the wonders of Christmas for the first time in her life".

A woman from Johannesburg, who wants to remain anonymous, said on Wednesday that she was so touched by the girl's tale of torture that she wanted to adopt her permanently.

"If I can make a difference in just one child's life, the world will be a better place.

"We are a middle-class family and I have three sons, but I want to help," she said.

She was prepared to fly to Port Elizabeth to take Annie back with her to Johannesburg.

Alex Bekker of Patensie in the Eastern Cape also wanted to adopt Annie and give her a home full of love.

"She deserves to be spoilt and to get oodles of love. And I've always wanted a little girl of my own," she said.

Maryanne Monk of Walmer wanted to give the brave little girl a place of safety until other members of her family could be found.

"I am a single parent, already raising one foster child. I may not have lots of money, but I have plenty of love to give."

An account was opened on Wednesday under the auspices of the MTR Smit Children's Haven, for any interested parties to use.

Crystal Watson, director of the Haven, said the money paid into the account would be used to buy presents, clothes and food for Annie.

"We have a long list of children waiting for a place in the Haven, but because of the circumstances we can make place for this little child, if needs be," said Watson.

Telephone lines at Dora Nginza Hospital were buzzing, according to Pamela Rubushe, a social worker there.

"The calls were from a string of people who wanted to adopt the girl, provide foster care for her, or just bring presents for her.

"She has a grandmother who lives in Jacksonville, but we haven't been able to find her yet.

Constant phone calls

"If the situation with the grandmother is not tenable, we will look at something like adoption," said Rubushe.

Sister Pumla Booi of the burns unit confirmed that people were constantly phoning and that one woman had already brought Annie a lovely doll.

Donations can be paid into the following account:

MTR Smit Children's Haven

Cheque account number 164 0157 808

Absa Bank (Newton Park)

Branch code 511 917.

Watson asked that donations should be by cheque only and that the money should clearly be marked for "Annie".

Proof of payment should be faxed to 041 368 1771.

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