Eswatini: A new home for 240 abandoned babies

APA-Mbabane (eSwatini)

A 13-week-old baby is among 240 children who were given a new home by Heart for Africa after they were abandoned by their parents in eSwatini recently.

The abandoning of children in eSwatini is a result of, in most cases; broken family structures, unwanted and teenage pregnancies and poverty.

Heart for Africa is an international charity organization also known as Project Canaan, which set up shop in the country 10 years ago and has employed over 300 people over the years.

The founder of the organization Ian Maxwell on Tuesday indicated that the rate at which babies are abandoned in eSwatini translated to 17 babies being abandoned every day.

“This year alone, between January and July we have taken in a total of 156 children into our home, which we believe is a place where hope has taken root. These were an addition to the others that came in late in 2018,” Maxwell said.

Government does not have a halfway home for abandoned children, forcing them to be kept at the Mbabane Government Hospital's Children's Ward until a time when they are placed into privately-owned safe houses, usually at the expense of Non-Governmental organizations.

Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku, whose portfolio entails looking after the welfare of children, said it was unfortunate that many children were suffering from neglect and poor family relationships.

“We are concerned about the welfare of children where proper growth, medical attention and social services are compromised” he added.

He commended institutions such as the Heart of Africa for playing a vital role in working with government for the development of the child, adding that these institutions should adopt an open-door-policy through which they would share necessary information and work in collaboration with the government.

He said his department would assist such institutions with the registration of the children, which, according to the law, should be done within the stipulated three-month period.


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