At last – a safe for unwanted babies is opened in Zwide
Bay woman fulfils promise she made to tiny child abused and dumped in pit toilet to die
When Esme Zwennis-Chesworth opened the first “smart baby safe” in Zwide on Thursday morning, she was fulfilling a promise she made to a tiny baby she met at Dora Nginza Hospital a few years ago.
“When he was only a few hours old he was stabbed in the back, his wrist was slit and then his mother abandoned him in a pit toilet,” she said.
After he was placed in her temporary care, she promised him that no baby would have to go through that ever again – not on her watch.
Since then she has seen babies left in parks and in abandoned buildings and twins rescued when their mother tried to carry them out of hospital in a bin bag to be dumped.
“I think this is why we wanted this safe to be close to the hospital,” she said.
“If a mommy has nowhere to turn, this is close enough for her to find a safe place.”
Zwennis-Chesworth, the founder of Hannah’s Arms, and Margaret Mkoto, 56, unveiled the safe at Mkoto’s house, about a kilometre from the hospital.
Mkoto said: “I love babies and children. I noticed that there was a problem with babies being abandoned.
“They needed a place to put the safe. I said they can come and put it here by me.
“We have a big problem here. Sometimes you will see the dogs are eating something.
“Then when you come near you see it is a baby.
“They put the babies in the bins. I thought I can do it, they can put a safe up at my house.”
Mkoto said she was also available to women who had a baby or who were dealing with crisis pregnancies if they needed someone to talk to.
“I can tell them what to do and where to go. I am concerned about our little ones, very concerned,” she said.
“God has given us the hearts to do this job. We look after the children and when they get adopted it is like God is saying: ‘You did a good job’.”
Hannah’s Arms board chair Mac Alexander, a safety parent himself, said they were grateful that they had another option to women.
He said he and his wife, Ann, had acted as safety parents to two abandoned babies.
One was found between the wheel of a car and the pavement.
The other was found at the Arlington tip, where a nineyear-old girl was playing with the baby like a doll.
Zwennis-Chesworth said the safe worked with a pressure plate that activated a magnet, shutting the door on the street side.
“It also has a mechanism where a signal will be sent to my phone, an ambulance company, the police and other role players telling us there is a baby in the safe,” she said.
The safe was sponsored by the late Jeremy Davis, his wife, Marilyn, and a friend in the United Kingdom, Maril Eldred.
There is also a baby safe at Forever Family Homes in Albert Road, Walmer.