Own ‘baby saver box’ for Gobabis
10 November 2021 | Social Issues
Namibia’s second baby saving box in which women can leave their babies that they cannot care for, without fear of persecution, has been opened at Gobabis.
This box was place in Gobabis by Gijsbertha van Rooyen who, together with her husband Jan, is now involved with the community and the non-governmental organisation Light of the Children.
“It's another way to serve the community that otherwise has no other option,” Gijsbertha says.
She acknowledges that pregnancies out of wedlock - especially among teenagers - are a major “problem and challenge” in the community and in the Omahake region at large.
The couple's journey with children from the community dates back to 2016, when the Van Rooyen’s were approached by a social worker to temporary foster a two-week-old San baby boy. The aim was to place him in their care until a parental home could be found for him.
“We couldn’t find a foster family and decided to adopt him and raise him ourselves,” Gijsbertha says. Today, the Van Rooyens are the proud parents of two children.
The baby box is located at the couple's home at Dr Mbuende Street 4 in Gobabis, with posters about the location and reason for it that are not only distributed in the town but in the region as well.
According to Gijsbertha, they have already received inquiries about the baby box from the community.
“A pregnant woman called and among other things, asked if she would be able to put her baby in the box, because she could not take care of him.”
The Van Rooyen’s community work includes the aftercare and nutrition of about 80 orphaned and vulnerable children, mentorship and the rehabilitation of a small group of street children.
Light for the Children's vision is that children may “discover their God-given potential and live accordingly”.
Meanwhile, Ronel Peters of the Ruach Elohim Foundation in Swakopmund, who opened the first baby box in the country there, says four babies have already been placed in it. All four babies have already been adopted, with two of the parent couples choosing to celebrate their new additions to their families' first birthdays at the coastal town and at the foundation.
At the moment, nine babies are temporarily being housed here until parents are found for them.
“The lives of the babies left in the box are saved. A mother can leave her baby here with peace of mind, because in this way she gives him or her a chance at life. She can pat herself on the back for doing the best she can for her child,” Peters says.
For more information Ronel can be contacted at 081 242 6396 or Gijsbertha at 081 881 9188.