Johannesburg – Mothers who cannot care for their children have been urged to hand them over to shelters and give them a chance to live.
The Door of Hope Children’s Mission operations director Nadene Grabham says there has been an increase in the number of children being dumped.
“An estimated 3 500 children are abandoned annually in SA. At least that’s the figure of those who are found alive. The number of those who are found dead is heart-breaking, it is actually an epidemic. There are many reasons behind abandoning children; one being unwanted pregnancies as a result of rape and other circumstances. But there is no need to kill or leave your baby somewhere to die,”
The Door of Hope organisation was established 20 years ago by Pastor Cheryl Allen; and has cared for over 1 685 children since inception, Grabham says.
“Infants can be left at the centre’s cubicle anonymously or through walk-ins. They are then fed, washed, examined and documentation arranged with the social development department.
At the moment the shelter has nearly 70 children in its care, Grabham says.
“It’s a blessing for us to take care and nurture these beautiful human beings,” she says.
Last year, the shelter received a letter of gratitude from Nathanael Stahler, who was abandoned and taken in by Door of Hope in 1999. He later moved to the United States with his adoptive parents. Now a 20-year-old graduate, he thanked the care centre. “God has bought me to where I am, and he used the grannies at the Door of Hope baby house to help me. I was an abandoned baby, and now I am a graduate,” he said.
Grabham says the shelter’s expenses are estimated at R10 million a year. “With state funding of R2.7 million, it is sometimes difficult to operate as the shelter relies on donations and fundraising events. Nonetheless, we have a strong desire to save children’s lives and give them a chance to thrive,” she says.
Grabham urges parents to use the nearly 30 such shelters around the country.
“There is no need to leave your baby to die. Always remember, a child is a blessing who deserves a chance in life. There are many facilities that mothers with unwanted babies can use to hand over the babies for adoption,” Grabham says.