NPO needs help to care for babies

BUNDLES OF JOY: Breath of Life Place of Safety caregivers, who have helped take care of more than 240 babies whose desperate mothers are facing difficult situations Picture: SUPPLIED

Unwanted pregnancies can be a difficult and emotionally stressful dilemma for many young girls and women, especially when they do not have adequate, or indeed any, support.

Breath of Life is a non-profit organisation that tries to provide a viable solution for them by offering crisis pregnancy counselling as well as a safe temporary home for babies.

Though this is an essential service, the centre is running short of means to cater to the overwhelming need in the metro.

Breath of Life is a Section 18A Public Benefit Organisation.

“We offer free options-based crisis pregnancy counselling.

“We offer this counseling at Breath of Life Place of Safety, at local schools and at termination of pregnancy centres where we have a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU].

“We also manage a temporary safe care home for vulnerable babies called Breath of Life Safety, situated in Selborne.

“Our home has house parents and baby caregivers,” said Michelle Rielly, a house mother and co-ordinator.

The NPO, which was first established in 2009, consists of a team of 21 people who are mainly full-time employees, as well as part-time and full-time volunteers.

They have four MOUs in place at Frere, Cecilia Makiwane, Bhisho and Empilweni Gompo Community hospitals.

The Little Lamb project is operated at these locations and provides a newborn starter pack with baby essentials for mothers in need.

This is done with the belief that the mother is less likely to feel desperate, alleviating the risk of babies being abandoned.

“Our local community is suffering and unfortunately the children seem to be bearing the brunt of the frustrations of the parents,” said one of the many helpers, Ilanthea Alberts.

“We believe that children are to be looked upon as a blessing, not an inconvenience, they are our future.  Unfortunately, the working realm within which we find ourselves is one of suffering and pain, abandonment and loss.

“It is our desire that we are able to, through the work we do within both crisis pregnancy counselling and our place of safety, restore hope and be a part of the healing process.

“We have helped over 242 babies and know there will be many more to come.”

As more and more babies and mothers in need of help flock to the centre, one of the best ways the public can assist is by becoming a temporary safe care parent, providing temporary care to a baby in need of protection.

This involves taking care of all the baby’s needs while the social worker conducts an investigation into the child’s circumstances.

This is a 90-day period that usually ends with the child being reunited with a biological family member, placed in foster care or placed for adoption.

The organisation receives no government assistance and is reliant on monthly donations through a guardianship programme.

If you can’t become a temporary safe care parent, here’s how you can help:

  • Volunteer your time at the place of safety
  • Become a guardian and donate monthly via debit order
  • Sponsor a cot by covering the monthly cost of a baby in care
  • Initiate fundraising events
  • Place a coin collection tin at your office, shop or church
  • Donate baby clothes and accessories to the place of safety
  • Donate items on the wish list
  • Donate adult items, household goods, linen

Visit Breath of Life Place of Safety for more information or to donate at 2 Dawson Road, Selborne, East London, or contact 076-426-5749 or email:

What you need to do to become a temporary safe care parent:

  • To become a temporary safe care parent one must first obtain a police clearance certificate from your local police station, and then send it to Pretoria.
  • Then obtain forms from an agency in your area, which need to be filled in.
  • You will need to include several contactable references.
  • Members of the agency will then set up a time to meet at your house.
  • A thorough background check will be done. Visit CMR at 9 Gordon Road, Southernwood, or contact them at 043-722- 6104, or the service office of social development at the bottom of Oxford Street.
  • Fill out and submit a Form 30, which the agency will give you.
  • The agency will receive the outcome, which it will then communicate with you.
  • You must be financially stable and able to provide for the baby.
  • You will be the baby’s primary caregiver at all times (though you may have help such as volunteers or a nanny, who will also be subjected to the same background checks).
  • Your responsibilities as a temporary care parent will be:
  • Your job is firstly to offer a loving home, to form a bond and attachment with the baby/child.
  • As a temporary parent, you will need to take care of the child as if they are your own during this period, making sure all health-related appointments including clinic visits for immunisations are done.
  • Sometimes the social worker will arrange parental visits at the social worker’s office.
  • You will also need to take note of the child’s development and report on any difficulties the child is experiencing, as well as the milestones the child is meeting.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

CAPTCHA ImageChange Image