Local NGO Philisa Abafazi Bethu has launched a safe place for distressed mothers to drop off their babies instead of opting to dump them.
The NGO’s director, Lucinda Evans, welcomed the Helderberg Baby Saver to her home at 69 Hilary Drive, Lavender Hill at the weekend.
A Baby Saver is a metal box in the perimeter wall of a safe house that has doors on either side. A person who does not want to or cannot keep their baby can come to the outer door of the safe house, open the door to the safe and place their unwanted baby inside. Evans said she advocated for a safe space for children to be dropped off due to “so many foetuses being found dumped”.
“During 2016, on a windy and rainy day, somebody left a newborn baby on my doorstep. The child was in a shopping bag, still bloody and with its umbilical cord. Last year, a one-year-old child was also left abandoned at my house and during the past year, we have found four dumped foetuses.
“We are aware that this is illegal, but this will not derail our efforts to protect women and children. It is an option for mothers in distress who have no other options. This baby saver allows us to save two lives.”
According to the pioneers of the Helderberg Baby Saver, the initiative was started “when a Somerset West neighbourhood watch member, Judith Cross, was the first responder to the scene when Baby Amber was found dumped next to the river in Somerset West in early 2014”.
“She was covered in ants and would have died fairly soon had the dog of some vagrants not sniffed her out and they then immediately raised the alarm,” according to the Helderberg Baby Saver website.