News / Africa

Baby Bins Give Abandoned Children A Second Chance

Baby Bins Give Abandoned Children A Second Chancei
X
April 16, 2013 1:07 PM
Every day, three babies, on average, are abandoned in Johannesburg alone. They are thrown into dumpsters and left for dead -- often by desperate mothers who can't afford to raise them. Now, a local NGO called "Door of Hope" has opened what it calls a "baby bin". It allows mothers to leave their babies and know they will be taken care of. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from Johannesburg.
Baby Bins Give Abandoned Children A Second Chance
Every day, three babies, on average, are abandoned in Johannesburg alone.  They are thrown into dumpsters and left for dead - often by desperate mothers who can't afford to raise them.  Now, a local NGO called Door of Hope has opened what it calls a "baby bin."  It allows mothers to leave their babies and know they will be taken care of.

In a small street in Berea, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Johannesburg, a trap door in a wall could be mistaken for a mailbox.  But it's actually a place where mothers can safely leave their babies.

"Usually when they put the baby here, the mother who put the baby here, we have staff on duty there, we check in the camera, we see there is a baby, a staff member would come and fetch the baby," explained Francina Mphago.

Mphago says the bin has a mini-camera and a sensor.  When a baby is put inside, a ringtone echoes in the organization's nursery, just a few meters behind the wall. Staff members can check the box on a computer screen.

The baby bin opened in 1999.  At the time, desperate mothers were abandoning their babies in garbage cans, parks and in the streets of Johannesburg.  Often it was too late to save them.

"I thought about it and wondered that if a woman wants to be anonymous, how can I help her? And so I thought that if I put a box in that wall, that they could put it in there instead of putting it in another rubbish bin," said Cheryl Allen, Door of Hope's director.

Since it opened, the baby bin has received 148 infants. Some have been adopted locally or by families abroad.

Godwill and Nkhangwe Kekana have adopted two sisters from Door Of Hope.  While in their case, they know the mother's name, they say the stigma around anonymously abandoned children needs to be addressed, for the children's sake.

"I would prefer when the child grows, he knows his or her roots," Godwill stated. "But like I said, sometimes you don't know what really pushes the parents at that time to take that action."

"I think the society must start teaching the children who are adopted, you know sometimes to not concentrate much on the roots. They might say 'ok I'm grown up, I'm 18 years old, I don't even know where I come from.' But they must appreciate that they had life," Nkhangwe added. "At least somebody took them in, and gave them life."

Baby bins exist in other parts of the world but have often been surrounded by controversy.  While some critics say they encourage women to abandon their babies.

Allen disagrees. She said, "I think that it doesn't encourage abandonment because they are going to abandon it anyway. Because I think it's quite a decision to make to abandon your baby. I don't think it's an easy decision. "

Over the years, other NGOs have followed Door of Hope and opened baby bins in other cities across South Africa.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs