What we do
NBZ has been in operation since 2001, with the main focus being Children living and working on the streets. In 2003, due to HIV/Aids Pandemic we included Child Headed Households to our focus group and in 2004 we had to include yet another vulnerable group…… Abandoned babies and toddlers. We cater for children between the ages of newborn up to 18 years. It is of paramount importance to us to render services and programs that is in the best interest of every individual child that we deal with.
Just as soon as you think you've seen the worst of cases, you come across yet another one. Abusers don't discriminate against colour, creed or age. Child Abuse is rife in our country and unfortunately not nearly enough is being done to protect the future of our country, the children. Government is shirking their responsibility when it comes to providing for destitute families therefore making it increasingly difficult for the poorest of the poor to survive. Abuse & Poverty are the main contributing factors to street children and abandoned baby statistics in our country.
Even though 90% of our services are aimed at HIV/AIDS Infected & Affected Children of all ages. We do not disclose any of the specifics of individual children or families to anyone except the involved social workers.
We are a member organisation of The Tshwane Alliance for Street Children which is an umbrella organisation for Residential, Non-residential, Outreach, Prevention & Early Intervention programs. NBZ does not have a residential care facility for children living, working and begging on the streets and thus places the children that we come in contact with through the various member shelters of TASC. Here children receive more than just the basic necessities of life. The ultimate long term goal is to reunite these children with their families or extended families and reintroduce them back into their communities as productive citizens contributing to our country's economy. However, before this is possible there is a long and difficult road a holistic team of caregivers and other professionals must walk with these children through their trauma and rehabilitation.
(including Child Headed Households)
Through our work in the various communities, we come across many desperate and destitute children in dire need of assistance. Two of our focus areas are Prevention and Early Intervention. A number of children need short term intervention whilst other might require long term, intensive assistance and we offer this in various ways. Some of the programs include Bi-monthly Food Parcels, Education, Statutory Work through Social Workers, Mediation, Placement, Court procedures, Grant applications etc.
Majority of people ask me "How can a mother abandon her child"? There is no easy answer to this and every mother has her own reasons for doing so and regardless of your religion, you have no right to pass judgment on these women. Some of them have been raped, sometimes even by a father, brother, other close relatives, teachers, people they should've been able to trust. Instead they were betrayed, fell pregnant and are petrified. Many of them don't even report the rape out of fear of the perpetrator, their community or their families. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to look into the child's face and be reminded of the terrible ordeal you had to go through when that little child was conceived? To be reminded everyday whilst trying to love and care for that baby is something that only the strongest of strong would be able to do. Therefore, the only other option is abandonment unfortunately. Yes, the moms who leave their babies at hospital thought it through rather than just dump him or her in a dustbin or veld or flush them down a toilet. Sometimes this is also in sheer desperation and confusion. This is where NBZ wants to make a difference.
"But why yet another baby project"? Well, the answer is easy. The need out there is so great that we can no longer turn our backs on this pandemic. It is our duty to try and make a difference.
In 2008 we launched the "Baby Wall". A wall with a slot where desperate mothers can safely leave unwanted babies rather than dumping them in dustbins, toilets, pit latrines, parks or streets. We want to offer desperate mothers and destitute babies a safe alternative. "The Baby Wall"… This structure is basically a wall with a big post box where unwanted babies can be left anonymously, no questions asked. As many of the babies we work with come from Sunnyside this was the perfect area to have a facility like this. The Sunnyside Baby Wall was officially opened on the 10th March 2008 & Atteridgeville in Jan 2010.
Working in isolation is not beneficial to us or the families & children we help. Networking ensures access to a range of resources and services as well as added expertise. Therefore we join hands with the various organisations we have longstanding relations with and build new ones as we go along.
However, without the invaluable assistance from various donors, this will all just remain a dream. The harsh reality of abandoned, abused, neglected and orphaned babies is something we can no longer ignore. NBZ appeals to all to open their hearts, take our hands, join forces, to do whatever is necessary to make a difference in the lives of these precious little Angels God has entrusted to us to care and protect.
I often receive Babies who need Specialised Short Term Care. These Little Ones are either Premature Babies or LBW (low birth weight). These babies are very small and need constant care and attention as there are many medical implications that can arise. "Kangaroo Mother Care" or KMC is very important for Premmies for various reasons. This means that these babies are wrapped against your body in a soft material "Thari" almost 24hours a day. With the proper loving care these babies pick up weight quickly and if there are no other medical complications they are placed up for Adoption or Foster Care, or sometimes reunified with their families.
Due to the increasing numbers of abandoned, neglected and abused babies in need of love, care and attention we opened the Haven in Laudium early in 2009 in order for us to accommodate more of these little ones. We understand the financial implications of running a Haven like this but how can you put a price on the lives of these children who have been deprived of so much. The Haven incorporates all the areas of care and nurturing as mentioned in above bullets on a bigger scale.
We initially intended to house 6 babies and toddlers at a time but due to the ever increasing need out there, during 2009 & 2010 we have already cared for a total of 83 Babies and Toddlers between the Haven my house.
Our staff compliment at the Haven comprises of 4 Full time Housemothers, 2 Cleaning Ladies, an Office Administrator, & 4 long term, totally dedicated Volunteers we call our Angels. This year we want to employ a part time Senior Social Worker and Auxiliary Social Worker. All of our Staff & Volunteers are crucial for the effective running of all the projects! We urge you, if you know of any willing sponsors to contribute towards Salaries, please inform us.
** For volunteer applications or more information on our needs, please visit our Resources page.