District Mail

Moms equip other moth­ers

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KELDERHOF – Two moth­ers from the Helderberg have teamed up to es­tab­lish an or­gan­i­sa­tion to pro­vide care pack­ages for new moth­ers in the basin.

The Glow­ing Start Foun­da­tion was founded by res­i­dents of Kelderhof Es­tate Me­gan El­liot and Judika Nel three months ago, with the aim to add to that spe­cial glow each new mom ex­pe­ri­ences after giv­ing birth to their lit­tle cherubs. Through the or­gan­i­sa­tion the pair hopes to pro­vide care pack­ages con­tain­ing ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties to new­borns and their moth­ers at Helderberg Hospi­tal and the Ma­cas­sar Com­mu­nity Healthcare Cen­tre.

Soon after be­com­ing new moms to baby boys last year, El­liot and Nel re­alised much truth lays in the age-old adage

“it takes a vil­lage to raise a child”. Says Nel, a hos­pi­tal­ity and events man­ager and mom to lit­tle Jo­hannes: “Form­ing an in­te­gral part of each other’s ‘vil­lage’, we spent many hours walk­ing along the Strand Prom­e­nade with our boys in their match­ing prams, dis­cussing all things – birth, baby de­vel­op­ment and our new lives.

“We con­soled each other and of­fered re­as­sur­ance as we headed into the great un­known of moth­er­hood. We re­alised how for­tu­nate we were to have each other and the ne­ces­si­ties we needed for the birth process and our ba­bies – and that every mother de­serves to have the best pos­si­ble start to this won­der­ful jour­ney... yet many don’t have that.”

The duo won­dered how they could help and con­tacted a lo­cal com­mu­nity hospi­tal, which re­vealed that more than 260 ba­bies were born at the two fa­cil­i­ties every month, and most moms and their ba­bies do not have ac­cess to the most ba­sic es­sen­tials.

“We knew we wanted to start right here in the Helderberg, help­ing one new mom at a time with a chance at start­ing her jour­ney on the right foot. And so the Glow­ing Start Foun­da­tion was born, with two moms try­ing to make a small dif­fer­ence to new moms in their com­mu­nity.”

El­liot, who is mom to Har­vey, is an en­tre­pre­neur and mar­keter. She says her pas­sion to lend a help­ing hand to other new moms stems from the sup­port she re­ceived from fam­ily and friends through­out her moth­er­hood jour­ney. “Peo­ple are bat­tling to make end’s meet and ba­bies are of­ten aban­doned as par­ents can­not af­ford the ne­ces­si­ties,” she re­lates, adding that this is needed now dur­ing the coron­avirus pan­demic more than ever.

“Through the ini­tia­tive we hope to de­crease the num­ber of ba­bies be­ing aban­doned, but more so, sup­port the new moms by show­ing them that they are loved and we care about them.”

Adding to what drives them to sup­port new moms and their ba­bies, Nel shared a quote by Mil­lar Fuller: “For a com­mu­nity to be whole and healthy, it must be based on peo­ple’s love and con­cern for each other”, say­ing this is ex­actly what the foun­da­tion is built on.

“Chil­dren are the fu­ture of South Africa, Re­search shows a child born in South Africa is at the high­est risk of dy­ing in the first six days of life; we hope to change this by sup­port­ing new moth­ers dur­ing this very cru­cial time,” Nel says.

“Col­lec­tively we can all play a part. We are all about com­mu­nity and sup­port­ing each other in any way pos­si­ble, mak­ing life a lit­tle bit brighter for each other.”

The care pack­ages will be filled with es­sen­tials such as ma­ter­nity pads, mesh panties, breast pads, nip­ple cream, mask and sani­tiser for mommy, and ne­ces­si­ties such as face clothes, wipes, nap­pies, bum cream, soap, vests, a baby grow, socks, a beanie and a blan­ket for the lit­tle one.

The duo will also in­clude read­ing ma­te­rial with in­for­ma­tion on breast­feed­ing and ba­sic healthcare tips for both mom and baby.

As a com­mu­nity-based not-for­profit, The Glow­ing Start Foun­da­tion and its work are heav­ily de­pen­dent on the good­will of mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, busi­nesses and spon­sors. El­liot, who is also coowner of Hive Fit­ness in Som­er­set West, says the group was pre­par­ing for its first of­fi­cial out­reach and han­dover on Women’s Day. She proudly shares it has teamed with Water­stone Vil­lage for Women’s Month, with cen­tre man­age­ment agree­ing to house a do­na­tion box at the shop­ping cen­tre for mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to donate goods to the cause.

“The do­na­tions of gen­er­ous spon­sors help us fill the bags with love and we hugely ap­pre­ci­ate every sin­gle do­na­tion we re­ceive, big or small,” says Nel. “All do­na­tions and spon­sor­ships, no mat­ter the size, help us equip moth­ers. We are look­ing to build work­ing re­la­tion­ships with lo­cal busi­nesses in the Helderberg, and ask any­one will­ing to work with us in up­lift­ing our com­mu­nity to con­tact us.”

Peo­ple can sup­port the ini­tia­tive by do­nat­ing items for the care pack­ages, mak­ing a monthly or once-off do­na­tion, host­ing a do­na­tion drive and shar­ing de­tails on the work of The Glow­ing Start Foun­da­tion on so­cial me­dia plat­forms. Al­ter­na­tively, they would also wel­come any­one in­ter­ested in knit­ting baby clothes for the lit­tle ones.

What does the fu­ture hold for the newly-founded or­gan­i­sa­tion? “We hope to run the care pack­ages pro­ject for years to come and have a few more projects up our sleeve, which we hope to in­tro­duce in fu­ture,” El­liot says. “Our big dream is to build a moth­er­hood vil­lage for the moms of the Ma­cas­sar com­mu­nity.”

● For more in­for­ma­tion on foun­da­tion, go to its page on Face­book or In­sta­gram, or email judika@the­glow­ingstart­foun­da­tio n.org.za or me­gan@the­glow­ingstart­foun­da­tio n.org.za.

 ??  ?? Me­gan El­liot and her lit­tle cherub, Har­vey.
Me­gan El­liot and her lit­tle cherub, Har­vey.
 ??  ?? Judika Nel with her son Jo­hannes.
Judika Nel with her son Jo­hannes.

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