The Upper Highway Baby Home is hosting the World’s Biggest Baby Shower for Mandela Day, to help support vulnerable young moms and their babies.
They have 1 020 beneficiaries – young moms with babies who are victims of gender-based violence, blessers, incest and rape. Without this support, the young moms are in a terrible predicament, and face the possibility of baby abandonment, dropping out of school and victimisation in the community. They have to choose between keeping a baby that was unplanned or making the scary decision to abandon the baby. This is often done in an unsafe way, to prevent being caught. It is currently illegal to place a baby for adoption without providing full details, and if the mom is below a predetermined age she has to have parental consent.
These young girls are often blamed for the pregnancies, regardless of the circumstances, and forced to keep the baby if anyone finds out about the pregnancy. Then they are not allowed to go to school because there is no one to look after the baby. Under these circumstances, the mother’s future and that of the baby are severely compromised.
The Upper Highway Baby Home’s Saving Future Programme works with these moms to support them, helping them to prevent unwanted pregnancies, build self-confidence, and ensuring the babies are safe, well fed and well cared for – giving the moms the breathing space to secure a future for themselves and the baby.
The programme is working very well, with only one repeat pregnancy in the three years that the programme has been running and no school dropouts. All babies are receiving daily nutritional meals and perceptions and attitudes within the communities are changing. This requires bi-weekly visits to each mom and baby and a lot of measurements of indicators.
“A large part of what we do revolves around emotional support and assistance with difficult family and community situations. We care for the babies’ nutritional, clothing and developmental needs, as well as supporting the moms with educational support, clothes and groceries to make their lives a little easier. Often this is the light at the end of a very dark tunnel,” explains Kerry Stanton of the Upper Highway Baby Home.
How can you help?
They need 60 tonnes of product and R1,4m per year to run this programme. Their biggest fundraising event is the Mandela Day World’s Biggest Baby Shower. There is something for everyone to do. If businesses or private people would like to make a financial donation this will be greatly appreciated, and section 18 As are available. They also have wish lists for both schools and family groups as well as businesses, for those who prefer to donate much-needed products towards the 60 tonnes of goods that are distributed every year. They also accept gently loved baby clothes and equipment, nappies and prams etc. Everything they get is used.
They are open every day for drop-off at the Upper Highway Baby Home and can also supply donation boxes for your business. The address is 4 Woodville Lane, Summerveld and you can contact Kerry Stanton on 082 823 1844.
All donors are invited to attend the Mandela Day event from 9am – 11am at the Upper Highway Baby Home.