How little Grace is helping to save other babies
When Charmaine Keevey found an abandoned baby in a storm-water drain in Lorraine earlier in 2018, her life was changed forever.
“I wanted something good to come from her life. I knew God had our paths cross for a reason. I knew God saved her for a greater purpose,” Keevey, 63, said.
She found baby Grace, as she refers to her, in a storm-water drain opening onto Sedan Avenue while taking her dog for a walk on April 3.
At the time, Grace was only a few days old.
Now – hoping that saving Grace would also be the salvation of hundreds of abandoned babies in Port Elizabeth – Keevey, along with a network of safety moms, is seeking to install baby safes all over the city.
There is at present one baby safe in Albert Road, Walmer, and another being installed next week, details of which will be made known later.
A baby safe is a metal box in which a baby can safely be placed and which can only be accessed from the side of the recipient organisation.
Once the baby safe is opened and closed, an alarm sounds, alerting the supporting organisation.
Keevey has joined forces with other safety moms in an attempt to have as many baby safes as possible installed at places where babies can be protected.
“The baby safe must be installed at a property where there are people who can immediately intervene,” she said.
Keevey said she also wants to make sure that women who are having a crisis pregnancy, or want to abandon their babies, receive counselling and information so they can be well informed of what their options are.
“I want each of these safes to have the words: ‘Protected by Grace’. This is that little baby’s legacy. She would be the reason many babies will be safe.”
Elmarie van der Merwe, at whose property, Forever Family Homes, the only baby safe in the metro is currently installed, said she hasn’t had a baby placed in the safe yet.
“I only have two signs up in Walmer township at the moment,” she said.
“I think we need city-wide awareness that there is a safe place where you can leave your baby,” she said.
This week, a baby boy – the 15th infant to be abandoned in Nelson Mandela Bay since January 2017 – was discovered in a rusty car in Missionvale.
Meanwhile, the mother of a baby girl handed to a homeless woman in Westbourne Road has still not been found.
The mother, now thought to be a student living close by, walked up to Desiree Botha on October 14 and asked her to hold her baby for a few minutes before disappearing.
In September, the mother of a newborn found in Wells Estate, was arrested.
The baby was hidden in a cement pipe on a dumpsite. He died later of abdominal sepsis.
Social worker Pamela Rubushe said both the baby handed to Botha and the infant abandoned in the car were doing well and had been placed in temporary safe care.
Anyone wanting to help with the baby safe project can contact Keevey via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org