Faith-based organisation Door of Hope has cautioned against the rise of abandoned babies in Johannesburg over the festive season.
In September 2017, Statistics South Africa released findings that around 3 500 children are abandoned in the country every year.
Stats confirmed by Nadene Grabham, operations director at Door of Hope.
“Police usually bring us children over this period who have been left in empty buildings in town, where it could be that the parents have gone back home and for whatever reason they can’t afford to take the baby or child with them so they leave them in an abandoned building or crèche.”
She adds that around this time poverty may play a big role in why children are abandoned by their families. “Safe abandonment is as illegal as unsafe abandonment so maybe mothers are scared they will get arrested if they leave a baby at a hospital, fire station or police station. So they would leave it at places like churches and crèches, anonymously.”
Grabham adds that alcohol and drugs also play a part in the abandonment of children, especially over the New Year period. With Door of Hope based in Berea, Johannesburg it covers areas such as Hillbrow, Braamfontein and Yeoville, and Grabham says they’ve seen the effects too much partying has on young children.
“What we’ve seen over the years is people party a little bit too hard and, unfortunately, the consequence of that is finding abandoned babies in the streets and dustbins. In cases like that, they are left to die.”
For people who are feeling overwhelmed with parental responsibilities, Grabham advises they consider adoption rather than abandoning their children.
“Instead of throwing a baby in a dustbin, go to places like Door of Hope or adoption agencies where you can receive counselling and be involved in choosing parents for your baby”.
For parents who may want a baby but can’t look after them, she adds foster care programmes are an option.