Moms equip other mothers
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.