Marilyn May holds one of the babies in her care at the Atlantic Hope home she started nine years ago to help abandoned babies. Photo: Supplied
Cape Town – When Marilyn May felt the weight of abandoned babies nine years ago, she decided to do her bit to help by starting a home for abandoned and vulnerable babies.

Her organisation Atlantic Hope, based in a Sea Point flat, has recently received a donation of R120 000 from the Fair Cape Cares Foundation.

“I decided that I had to do something to make a difference in these vulnerable babies’ lives. Soon after that, I trained to be a safety mother and opened the doors of Atlantic Hope.

“I converted my lounge and dining room into the nursery and the rest is history, so they say.”

May said she cared for a maximum of six babies at a time.

“We have cared for over 90 babies, all between the ages of birth and a year. Most of them are here for between three and eight months.

“At the moment, we have three baby girls and three baby boys. The oldest is 13 weeks and the youngest is 5 weeks old. Our babies come from all over the Western Cape.”

Not all the babies who come to Atlantic Hope were abandoned. Some have been removed from their parents because of social problems, including drug or alcohol addiction, or the risk of child trafficking, while others have been relinquished for adoption and are waiting for their new homes.

May, who is a mother of two adult children, said starting the organisation was not easy but her children had supported her immensely.

“There were a lot of challenges and there were days that were hard. But they have been amazing supporters from day one and have learned so much alongside me through the process. I am very proud of them both and thankful to them for all they have sacrificed,” she said.

Fair Cape Cares Foundation Trustee Joel Serman said: “When we heard about the work of Atlantic Hope, we realised that this was an organisation where we could make a contribution.”

He said the money was raised through a series of initiatives, including profits made from sales of the Fair Cape Cares yoghurt six-packs.

“Everyone who buys our products helps to make a difference to the lives of these children. The new chance in life that these babies are getting is going to open a world of opportunities to them. 

"A baby who started life abandoned in a field could end up as a doctor, an inventor because of the start that they get at Atlantic Hope.”

Cape Times