Safe drop-off point launched for unwanted babies in Lavender Hill

A Cape Town NGO has created a drop-off point in Lavender Hill where desperate women can safely leave their babies, rather than opting to dump them.

The child and women's rights organisation, Philisa Abafazi Bethu, launched the Lavender Hill Baby Saver at the weekend after two years of lobbying.

The Baby Saver is a metal container outside the safe house. A woman who is unable to keep their baby can open the door to the safe and place their unwanted baby inside.

The NGO’s director, Lucinda Evans, explains that when the door of the Baby Saver is opened, a signal is triggered which is sent to various responders.

The Lavender Hill project was inspired by the Helderberg Baby Saver, first pioneered by Sandy Immelman in 2014.

Read: 'Persecuting woman who safely left newborn may trigger more unsafe baby dumping'

Evans says a baby was dumped on a rubbish heap on the 4th of September in the community. Many other incidents have occurred over the years.

She says the Lavender Hill Baby Saver will be an access point for desperate pregnant women in the community.

Evans believes the Baby Saver will save the lives of many children and women in need of hope.

Also read: The harsh realities that can lead to abandoning babies

Evans has encouraged pregnant women to reach out Philisa Abafazi Bethu for help and support before resorting to the Baby Saver, where possible.

A year before that, in 2017, we had a similar incident.

Lucinda Evans, director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu

In 2016, a mother left her newborn still covered in vernix with the umbilical cord in front of my gate in a Shoprite packet.

Lucinda Evans, director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu

We've been advocating, for the last two years, to have a beacon of hope for desperate, pregnant women right in our community.

Lucinda Evans, director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu

There are no facilities for desperate, pregnant women. We don't have emergency pregnancy crisis centres for women in Cape Town.

Lucinda Evans, director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu

It's not just about the box. It's about raising awareness.

Sandy Immelman, founder of the Helderberg Baby Saver

It's not an easy option. It's the last safety net when there is someone who going to put their baby in a plastic bag, and into a dustbin.

Sandy Immelman, founder of the Helderberg Baby Saver

Both the Helderberg Baby Saver and the Lavender Hill Baby Saver want to advocate for the safe abandonment of children.

Child abandonment is currently against the law in South Africa.

Visit the Philisa Abafazi Bethu website or the Helderberg Baby Saver website to learn more.

Listen to the discussion on The Pippa Hudson Show:


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