More babies being abandoned during lockdown, says Atlantic Hope

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Paula Luckhoff

160 days ago
More babies being abandoned during lockdown, says Atlantic Hope © seventyfour74/123rf.com

Atlantic Hope is a non-profit organisation (NPO) that has been providing temporary care for vulnerable babies for the past 11 years.

The pressure on the organisation has grown during the Covid-19 lockdown as more financially battered parents resort to abandoning their infants.

We look after babies that have either been abandoned, or they've been neglected or abused by their parent or guardian and that means they've been removed. Or they are awaiting adoption.

Marilyn May, Founder - Atlantic Hope

There are a lot of social services in the Western Cape... including adoption agencies... Child Protection Services works with all these different social services; the hospitals work with them as well.

Marilyn May, Founder - Atlantic Hope

On Weekend Breakfast, founder Marilyn May explains why she started Atlantic Hope.

She describes her feelings during a volunteer stint as a doula at a public hospital, when she comforted a baby who had been abandoned.

There was a baby that was crying and crying at the back of the nursery ward... I asked if I could comfort the baby... I held him on my chest and felt his little heart beat against mine...

Marilyn May, Founder - Atlantic Hope

The sister told me he'd been abandoned... I immediately thought to myself there must be something I can do to help, and I am going to do it.

Marilyn May, Founder - Atlantic Hope

I found out from the social workers in the hospital that places of safety where these babies go to before they are placed, are desperately needed in the Western Cape.

Marilyn May, Founder - Atlantic Hope

I went through the training and all the red tape to become a safety mom and there was no other option but to have the nursery in my flat in Sea Point.

Marilyn May, Founder - Atlantic Hope

May says Atlantic Hope has seen an increase in abandoned babies during the pandemic as parents struggle financially.

They panic, obviously, or they don't have the resources... They don't have the knowledge to find people to help them.

Marilyn May, Founder - Atlantic Hope

Atlantic Hope itself has also been hard hit financially as long-term private donors were retrenched and companies were badly affected by the lockdown.

As the NPO has been running for 11 years it has built up a stock of baby clothes and equipment like cots.

A grant also helps with food and cleaning materials.

What Atlantic Hope needs most is financial donations, says May.

Corporates changed their focus to PPE and feeding schemes and so, for the first time, financially it's been really, really difficult for us to cover our running costs.

Marilyn May, Founder - Atlantic Hope

If you are able to help, you can find the NPO's banking details at atlantichope.co.za.

Listen to the interview on Weekend Breakfast:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : More babies being abandoned during lockdown, says Atlantic Hope

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