Bluff hosts ‘baby safe’ solution for unwanted babies [POLL]

Youandi Gilain with the baby safe.

THE Bluff’s baby safe offers a chance for unwanted infants to find caring homes.

Operated by Open Arms (a project of Isaiah 54 Children’s Sanctuary), the baby safe offers an alternative for desperate women or men who want to ensure their child is taken care of.

It is not something the Open Arms team suggests or advertises but as a last resort it serves as a safety net.

“So many babies are abandoned in our area and others. We have cared for babies found in fields, dumps and even toilets,” said Open Arms founder, Youandi Gilain.

While they believe it is always best to help families through their crises and keep them together, knowing there is a viable and secure alternative helps them keep doing the work they do.

“We had an abandoned baby with us and I kept thinking, does the mother know he’s safe? That’s when I looked into the baby safe concept and decided to get involved,” said Gilain.

The site is along one of the popular bus and taxi routes on the Bluff, with many people making use of the stop mere metres from the safe.

The unassuming box is nestled in a wooden shed, shielded by trees on a small patch of land, called Makeweni in Malborough Park. The metal case of the safe houses a mattress.

The communication function operates in the same way as a phone.

“Every day we receive a message telling us everything is working properly. If a baby is placed inside the mattress lowers and we get a phone call. It takes us mere seconds to reach the baby,” said Y.

The team then contacts the police to inform them a child has been left in the safe. They contact social workers and the district surgeon too.

“We open a case of abandonment but don’t press charges. Then social workers will either place the child in another crisis home or with us,” said Isaiah 54 founder, Glynnis Dauth.

Open Arms offers pregnancy crisis counselling with the aim of helping people and families through the pregnancy. Since they installed the safe in May they haven’t had babies placed inside.

“This is both good news and bad,” said Glynnis. “We don’t ever want this safe to be used because we would prefer families stay together. However, this doesn’t mean babies aren’t being abandoned and it would be better than a child being left in a field somewhere.”

WhatsApp Youandi Gilain on 084-488-1359, call 062-013-7955, email help@openarmssa.org or BBM 558a64c4.

 

POLL is now closed

 

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  AUTHOR
Erin Hanekom
Journalist

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