Durban - As authorities continue to fight against the abandonment of new-born babies in bins and even drains around the city, a Durban-based non-profit organisation, The Peace Agency has set its sights on opening a new Baby Home in uMlazi in the hope of giving desperate mothers more options.
It comes in the wake of a new-born baby girl being rescued from a drain in Newlands East and a young mother dumping her baby in a waste bin at King Edward Hospital.
The Peace Agency which is appealing for public assistance in building the Baby Home hope that its establishment will meet the ever-growing need for registered childcare facilities.
According to the agency, it’s estimated that at least 3 500 babies are abandoned in South Africa every year, with KwaZulu-Natal experiencing a disproportionately high number of incidents.
To assist Child Welfare in accommodating these children, non-profit organisations like The Peace Agency, have established homes for these babies in dire need of safe care. These facilities provide the necessary care and support for infants, with the ultimate goal being to home these children with adoptive parents. However, many of these homes are already overburdened and the number of babies needing a caring home merely increases.
“The reality is that a disproportionately low number of babies are adopted annually, yet the number of children seeking a loving home, rises steadily,” explained Justin Foxton, founder of The Peace Agency. “The opening of our uMlazi Baby Home will assist in meeting this need, by providing a caring, restorative space for babies traumatised by the most horrendous experiences. We will also continue to lobby for increased adoptions in the province in an effort to provide these children with a secure, loving forever home as quickly as possible.”
According to Marietjie Strydom, chairman of National Adoption Coalition of South Africa's KZN Branch, data from the Department of Social Development indicated that only 174 adoptions took place in a seven-year period in the province.
Strydom explained that the first 1 000 days of any child’s life are incredibly important and the lack of care or broken bonds in early life leads to trauma that alters the physical brain and its functions permanently. This will have a lifetime of negative consequences.
“The uMlazi Baby Home will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of some of our most vulnerable members of society – abandoned babies,” explained Foxton. “Through community support and assistance from the general public, we can make an incredible difference in the lives of these children.”
In addition to housing vulnerable babies, the uMlazi Baby Home will also be a training centre for local women who are looking to be carers. These women provide an invaluable service to the community, acting as surrogate mothers to vulnerable children on a daily basis.
For more information on the uMlazi Baby Home and to donate, visit www.peaceagency.org.za