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Fifth baby drop safe opened in the Bay
baby safe missionvale
At the official opening of the baby drop safe at the Missionvale Care Centre, are (at the back from left) Charmaine Keevy, Linda van Oudheusden and Kim Taljaard. In front is Sister Ethel Normoyle. Photo: KAILIN DANIELS

AN abandoned baby found dumped in a storm water drain in April last year, led to the opening of the fifth baby drop safe in Port Elizabeth.

The baby drop safe, installed at the Missionvale Care Centre, has been opened in an attempt to end the scourge of babies being dumped in bins, toilets and open fields in Port Elizabeth over the past few years.

Charmaine Keevy, founder of Celebration of Grace Project, discovered an abandoned baby when out walking her dog in April last year. Since then, she has worked tirelessly with individuals and organisations to provide a safe alternative for mothers in crisis who may resort to leaving their new born babies in vulnerable situations.

Keevy said that the need to create an alternative safe place for mothers to place their babies instead of abandoning them, was birthed the moment she found baby Grace.

“That day became a defining moment in my life. I could not turn away and asked myself if I was chosen to find her. In that moment of holding her cold little body, I knew I could not walk away,” Keevy said.

Once a baby is placed in the baby safe and the safe is closed, it cannot be opened from the outside. The safe, which has a weight function, triggers a sensor to alert the Missionvale Care Centre, where someone immediately responds.

The baby safe is located at the Missionvale Care Centre and is a collaboration between newly formed NGO, Celebration of Grace Project, and the ABC Private Safety Care.

Sue Atherton, staff liaison officer at Grey High School, organised a successful fund-raiser to cover the cost of purchasing the safe from Baby Safe International.

Working with Kim Taljaard, from the ABC Private Safety Care, Missionvale Care Centre approached them to host a baby safe at the centre and they formed a partnership.

Taljaard added, “Our baby safe is the last resort for desperate mothers who find themselves in a crisis and don’t know what else to do. It’s anonymous and safe.”

Another baby safe can be found at a safe house in Mkhuze Street, Zwide, run by Hannah’s Arms. Thand’usana Babies Safe Home installed a baby safe last year at the Methodist Church in Newton Park, while Forever Family Homes has one at 63 Albert Road, Walmer and another at 55 Grootboom Street, Arcadia.

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