Johannesburg - Young mothers in South Africa are among our country’s most vulnerable, and many face not only the challenge of the cost of a healthy pregnancy and delivery but stigma from society as well.
Even after a child’s birth, in South Africa, the child support grant is only R480 – falling far short of the average monthly cost for feeding a newborn, estimated to be at least R710,75.
According to the 2021 Household Affordability Index, the average monthly cost of feeding a child an essential nutritious diet is R710,75. But, South Africa’s child support grant is only R480, and as a result, countless new mothers in the country struggle to provide basic care essentials for themselves and their newborn babies.
But charitable organisation The Grace Factory is determined to do all that it can to provide vital support to these young mothers and to address the increasingly dire situation.
The NPO does this by providing maternity newborn packs to as many mothers-in-need as possible across the nation.
These packs include vests, beanies, blankets, socks, nappies, wet wipes, bum cream, aqueous cream, baby soap, face cloth, maternity sanitary pads, and breast pads. This equips new mothers to see to the needs of their newborn baby, allowing their young to be kept warm with clothing and be cared for.
The organisation also distributes these maternity packs through government hospitals, clinics, social workers and other community partners. To date, the organisation has helped over 19,000 new mothers and babies as well as 200 children's homes and organisations with much-needed mom and baby essentials.
“The dream for every new mother is to be able to provide the best for her baby. That’s why we’re so passionate about ensuring that no mother delivers a baby in our communities without having the basic essentials for herself and her baby during the first few weeks of her newborn baby’s life,” Sarah Cressey, Co-Director at The Grace Factory said.
“We also want to break the stigma that new moms, especially adolescents, are falling pregnant for grants or that they’re promiscuous.”
She added that the reality is that South Africa is the gender-based violence capital of the world, and many young women fall pregnant from rape and don’t have any other option but to keep the baby.
“So no matter their circumstances, these women still need our support and assistance.”
The organisation is now appealing to the nation to lend a helping hand.
Here’s how you can help vulnerable mothers keep their newborns warm this winter.
– Sponsor a donation drive or packing day at the office – packing days involve companies donating money to The Grace Factory, which then purchases the essential items and delivers them to the company’s offices so staff can pack them.
– Donate new or pre-loved baby items, such as clothing, blankets, nappies and more at these drop-off points
– Make a monetary donation to The Grace Factory bank account – cash donations can be stretched further through the organisation's management because it’s partnered with retailers to purchase items at cost price.
– Knit, crochet, or sew baby beanies, jerseys, booties or blankets.