What­sApp line to help des­per­ate moth­ers

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS -

CHILD ac­tivists have launched a What­sApp line to help de­spair­ing moth­ers think­ing of aban­don­ing their chil­dren.

Thou­sands of chil­dren are aban­doned each year and ac­tivists are try­ing to draw at­ten­tion to their plight as part of Child Pro­tec­tion Week.

“Some of the ba­bies aban­doned in pub­lic places are pre­ma­ture and some­times even have the um­bil­i­cal cord on them‚” child pro­tec­tion ac­tivist Dee Blackie said.

The What­sApp line will put moth­ers in touch with places of safety where they can leave their chil­dren.

Last year‚ 2 830 chil­dren were aban­doned at child care cen­tres na­tion­wide‚ ac­cord­ing to re­search by the Na­tional Adop­tion Coali­tion.

Gaut­eng reg­is­tered the high­est num­ber at about 900, with two thirds of them dy­ing.

Ac­tivists say they have en­coun­tered dif­fi­cul­ties when try­ing to help these chil­dren.

For ex­am­ple‚ many are dropped off anony­mously by their moth­ers‚ mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to ob­tain doc­u­men­ta­tion.

“There is an as­sump­tion that aban­doned ba­bies are for­eign and‚ while they make up a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber‚ not all of them are,” Blackie said.

“There are moms‚ in­clud­ing teens‚ who are un­able to keep their ba­bies.”

Adop­tion has re­mained stag­nant‚ and more peo­ple from other coun­tries are adopt­ing ba­bies than lo­cals‚ ac­cord­ing to the coali­tion. – Shenaaz Ja­mal

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