The reaction on social media is overwhelming after a day-old baby was found around 20h00 on Monday night in a Beaufort-West water drain — on world adoption day.
“Annually more than 3,500 babies are found in sewer pipes, rubbish bins, dense fields and even buried in shallow graves, because their desperate mother, due to circumstances, cannot raise them. Twice as many are never found. This event is definitely a miracle and tells a story of hope,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson for Action Society.
According to Lizette van der Nest, her son and daughter heard a baby crying when they went for a walk. Upon investigation they determined that the baby was in the water drain.
“My daughter immediately phoned her father and my son ran home to call for help. The baby, who was found wrapped in his blanket inside a red plastic carrier bag, was presumably thrown down the gully. He survived the two-meter fall, but was soaking wet and icy cold by the time we reached him,” Van der Nest reports.
The local hospital was able to link the baby to a young student that gave birth earlier. She allegedly wanted to commit suicide, but has since been arrested on charges of attempted murder.
“Rape, assault, poverty and a lack of documentation are among the main reasons why mothers abandon children. Instead of condemning these women, we should embrace and support pregnant girls in our communities so that they can get to baby shelters in time,” says Gouws.
Action Society has launched a campaign to create awareness of the problem and initiate solutions. “The public must be informed to realise that the stereotyping of adoption should be positive. We must stop condemning these mothers who are not able to raise their babies themselves. Adoption for these babies is actually a new beginning.”
The family started sharing their story with the public in order to gather baby necessities. Van der Nest, who is a captain in the police, asks the public to be more attentive. Municipalities can also close gullies of drains with mesh.
“Baby Moses”, as the hospital staff referred to him, lay in the water for about four hours before he was rescued. Thankfully he is a strong, healthy baby of 3.6kg. Our family are still in shock of what had happened. We also have a baby of 19-months,” says Van der Nest.
Both she and her husband Koos are passionate about making a difference. “If I win the lottery one day, I would like to open a safe haven for victims of domestic abuse. In my career I have experience so much sadness. “Women need to empower themselves and build a support network in order to escape from these circumstances and provide their children with a safe home,” she says.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 12 November 2020
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Spokesperson: Action Society,