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Sunday, 28th July 2013 I For immediate release
The Salvation Army’s home for abandoned and abused babies, Ethembeni, in Doornfontein, Johannesburg, yesterday officially welcomed the 1000th baby to come under its care since 1995.
Baby Promise (not her real name) was born on 1st June 2013, and arrived at Ethembeni through the intervention of the South African Police Service. She had been left with a carer by her mother, who did not return for her. As the carer could not afford to keep her, the SAPS brought her to Ethembeni on 12th June. Ethembeni’s administrator, Captain Heather Rossouw, says that Baby Promise is beautiful. “She has a peaceful, carefree nature and smiles a lot,” she added.
Ethembeni, meaning “Place of Hope”, is home for up to 60 children aged from birth to three years, all of whom have suffered emotional, physical or medical abuse or have been abandoned. Many are HIV positive. This special place provides mental and emotional stimulation, love and care for these children, and works towards their adoption or fostering into a loving family environment. The children are brought to Ethembeni from various places. Some are found in black rubbish bags, in dustbins, on rubbish dumps, in shebeens and bars, in parks, at taxi ranks; others are left at the hospital after delivery. Some have been abandoned with strangers or left without care for long hours.
The children are cared for, fed and clothed, and given the opportunity to enjoy their childhood despite the difficulties they have already encountered in their young lives. If possible, children are re-united with their biological parents/families or into the community, since institutionalisation is not an ideal solution for them. Ethembeni has been successful in reuniting 124 children with their families. Alternately, adoption or foster care is encouraged. To date, 471 children have been adopted, while 203 have been placed in foster care.
If this is not possible, the children are transferred on to other institutions to introduce them to pre-school facilities, and 87 children have moved on in this way. Sadly, another 61 babies and children have passed away through illnesses such as HIV/Aids. Parents who are experiencing economic hardship are assisted with baby care products when they are reunited with their children.
There are many opportunities for volunteers at Ethembeni, many of whom often pop in to give their free time and lend a pair of hands to help with the day-to-day tasks. Members of the public can also donate R30 by sending an SMS with the word “Child” to 42290. The SMS’s cost R30 each.
The Southern Africa Territory of The Salvation Army encompasses four countries – South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland – and the island of St Helena. Its officers, soldiers and full-time employees provide their spiritual and community services through approximately 230 corps (churches), societies and outposts, as well as through schools, hospitals, institutions for children, street children, the elderly, men and abused women, and daycare, goodwill, rehabilitation and social centres.
ISSUED BY QUO VADIS COMMUNICATIONS ON BEHALF OF THE SALVATION ARMY
Media Contact: Ruth Coggin
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Client Contact: Major Carin Holmes
Public Relations Secretary
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