Abuse doesn’t always mean sexual abuse

In the UK we raise an outcry is a baby is found abandoned - understandably. Here in South Africa, in one province alone, it is thought that over 200 babies every year, between the ages of 1 hour old and 2 weeks old, are being thrown away. Abandoned, and often dead, babies are found in gutters, in drains, in car parks and thrown out of windows. 

It is easy to be condemning but if you are a young girl who has been raped and didn’t known about pregnancy or even the rudiments of getting pregnant the discovery of the pregnancy and birth is a terrible shock. Many times they try to get rid of the baby - if abortion doesn’t work [and often it is too late] then they do what they can to disguise things and crawl into some rotten hole to hide from what they see as their disgrace.  However it isn’t always poor girls who have been raped who discard these babies, the police have found they come from all strata’s of society, but you still have to be pretty desperate to abandon a baby. In the light of this there are many places babies can be left like the traditional ‘Hole in the Wall’ where the baby will be taken in and cared for by children homes, but still babies are found in rubbish heaps.  Loving care

Unfortunately many of these abandoned babies are sick, malnourished or infected with all sorts of things so their life span is likely to be short. We work with the ever amazing Big Shoes who work with children’s homes and try to give every abandoned baby a chance at a decent life [and grow into Big Shoes …. ] for however long is left to them. We fund training, through Big Shoes, for the children’s home staff – many of them volunteers - who work with these ‘found’ babies and who try to give the babies a good, loving, quality of life for however long remains.



A baby being lovingly cared for

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To date, with the help of DHL, we have sent from the UK to South Africa, over 2,500 soft toys for vulnerable children. The outpouring of love and donations of beautiful soft toys has been quite amazing and we thank every child and parent/guardian who have donated. Each and every toy that we sent will be cherished in their new home. We are now stopping accepting toys because those lovely people at http://theteddytrust.wixsite.com/home do this all the time, again with DHL, and send toys to children all over the world. Any kind people who wish to donate will now be referred to them.

Click here for more information

We are proud and honoured that our work has been recognised by the UK Prime Minister, and that he has given Lesley his Point of Light award, stating
With the Infant Trust Lesley has empowered thousands of women across South Africa to protect and safeguard children in their communities. The education and training she has provided has helped to improve the lives of over 800,000 children, tackling the violence and abuse that affects too many of them in their early years. As we mark International Women’s Day this week I am delighted to recognise all that Lesley has done.”
You can find the full story at https://www.pointsoflight.gov.uk/2268-2/

Why are so many small children abused by male perpetrators in South Africa? Our researcher interviewed 27 perpetrators in prison in South Africa; all are in jail after being found guilty of some of the most terrible crimes against some of the most vulnerable children – some as young as a few days old. Those interviewed are all men aged between 16 years and 84 years old, and all have brutalised and raped at least one child. But the findings aren’t maybe what we might expect – it makes interesting reading.  We have been funding research into this for 5 years and it is finally finished and published – you can read the summary here

Our flagship Caring for Crèches programme has reached into some of the poorest communities in five of the nine provinces in South Africa and we have crèche leaders everywhere clamouring for the training. We have now trained over 2,200 people and they in turn have already positively impacted on the lives of over 160,000 children … and will continue to help many hundreds more children for years to come

Just once in a while, amongst all the amazing work that is done to help children in South Africa, we come across a shining star. One such is Wilhelmina who determined to setup a refuge for abandoned children.
Newsletter The report from our most recent visit to South Africa

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