Project meets urgent need to protect abused, abandoned kids
The efforts of a young Port Elizabeth couple will see six abandoned, abused and neglected babies receive loving care at a temporary safe home in Westering.
After weathering the devastating death of their four- year-old son about six years ago due to meningitis, Tanja, 34, and Braam van Dyk, 32, have fulfilled their dream of caring for babies who have had a hard life from birth.
Hope Baby Safe Home, a project of Vistarus Mission Station, opened in the couple’s home in August.
Tanja said: “Starting a baby home has been our biggest dream and we are so hopeful for a great journey caring for these little ones, but we never thought it would become a reality this soon.
“After we met with a couple from Vistarus, we prayed about it.”
The establishment is not funded by the government and Tanja said they relied on donations and their own income to source necessities.
“My husband and I hold jobs apart from running the home and through our salaries we see to the needs of the babies [and also receive some] donations which have been great so far,” Tanja said.
Although they qualify for about R25 amonth per child from the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa), they have yet to receive anything.
Braam said the most satisfying thing about the baby safe home being in their family home is that their children have an opportunity to learn about love.
The Van Dyks have a 14-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son.
“In a big way, it has drawn our family closer together because we all share the love for these babies. “Our family enjoys sharing in the laughter and seeing the smiles on the little ones’ faces, which makes what we do so special,” Braam said.
Department of Social Development communications officer Sibabalwe Nkebe said the safe home was assessed by the department and was found to be capable of caring for up to six babies at a time.
“The babies will be cared for in a safe environment while the children’s court investigation is finalised. “The safe home will provide a much-needed service in the community with regard to the protection of babies,” Nkebe said.
Vistarus social worker Heloise le Roux said the babies at the home would be blessed to have the couple as their foster parents.
“There are very few people like these two who would take someone from a troubled background and give them a loving home,” she said.