Someone finds a crying child in the desert, alone. Immediately, the blame goes to the mother because of the perception that she might be mad and stupid, too lazy to use birth control or too uncaring to put the child up for adoption. The reality, however, is that these women are merely scapegoats for the underlying problem. The number one cause of child abandonment in South Africa is poverty.
People desert over 3,500 unwanted babies every year. Child abandonment is an epidemic in South Africa with very little help from the government to create awareness about the growing crisis. Fortunately, there are relief organizations working to help save these innocent children.
3 Relief Organizations Tackling Child Abandonment in South Africa
- SOS Children’s Village: SOS Children’s Village is a global organization that works in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to create a protective environment for every child. SOS has four key action areas that it emphasizes including awareness, prevention, reporting and responding. Through its efforts in South Africa, SOS Children’s Village has managed to open 11 facilities, support 5,356 children and youth and ensure that over 52 percent of the youth leave the program as self-reliant individuals. With continued donations, SOS Children’s Village can expand its already fruitful impact in South Africa.
- Door of Hope: As the foremost home in Johannesburg for abandoned babies, Door of Hope cares for children who do not have a place at home. The Door of Hope has a hole in the wall of its church property where people can place abandoned babies at any time during the day. In the past two decades, Door of Hope has received over 1,500 infants, and it found at least 12 percent of those in the wall hatch.
- Courage: Launched by the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa (NACSA), Courage is a child protection toolkit that helps child protection organizations develop strategies by guiding them through the various factors they must consider. Additionally, the program offers support for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy through open counseling, in the hopes that they will not flee without their child. Past work has found that the Courage program helped in the practical implementation of the South African Children’s Act. The success of Courage goes beyond the borders of South Africa, and as the organization enters its global stage, it is looking to empower teenagers and young adults to make wise choices so that they can avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Abandoned babies that people never find usually end up buried, flushed down drains or eaten by animals or rodents. These babies do not have a life the minute they enter the world. The organizations above are doing justice by attempting to save these babies, but they require more manpower to solve the issue of child abandonment in South Africa. To make a difference, consider contributing to one of the organizations above.
– Shvetali Thatte