A Kraaifontein church has launched a “baby saver” where vulnerable mothers can safely leave their unwanted children.
Called Open Arms of Hope, the large white container is stationed next to the Lofdal Church in Bloekombos, where mothers can leave their babies “offering them the choice of life” instead of throwing them away which often results in death.
The baby drop, founded by Karin Senekal, was launched on Thursday as part of the annual national 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, and was attended by members of the Kraaifontein SAPS, including station commander Brigadier Gerda van Niekerk.
Sergeant Shanneen Gertse of Kraaifontein SAPS says the issue of dumped babies has become far too prevalent in Bloekombos.
She commended Karin and her husband Theo for taking positive action in helping vulnerable women and children.
“For us as the police, it is also traumatising to go out to scenes where we discover the tiny bodies of babies that no one wanted. We thank Open Arms and the Lofdal Church for giving our babies a second chance at life.”
Since 2003, Karin and Theo have been acting as temporary safe care parents for Procare, an adoption agency caring for newborn babies till adoption.
“For as long as I can remember, I had a longing for saving abandoned babies and it always troubled me to hear of infants that were found abandoned and dead,” she says.
Karin says in 2011, a Bible scripture inspired her to start Open Arms of Hope, and now they have joined the national Baby Saves movement in South Africa.
“It is estimated that over 3500 babies were abandoned or deserted in 2010 and their numbers are set to be increasing year to year. Two out of every three babies abandoned are found dead.”
Karin says often desperate parents are unable or not comfortable coming forward to discuss their dire situation, and Open Arms provides a simple, safe and anonymous alternative to dumping kids.
“We offer support and hope to the pregnant mothers in crises and empower and equip the new mother. Currently there are 40 Baby Savers in South Africa run by 31 organisations, although not all are in operation.”
Each Baby Saver unit has an alarm system to alert the organisation when a baby has been dropped.