abandoned babies

A Blaze Of Floral Art

It was an act of love seven years ago when Angela Altern and friends created a painted blaze of colour in a floral mural along the driveway wall of The Domino Foundation’s Babies’ Home. “I had an overwhelming desire to brighten the lives of the little people living in the home until they were either reunited with their biological families or had joined their new adoptive ‘forever’ families.”

Time and the elements have faded the hues of the asters and daisies bedecking the wall. All the children who were then part of the little community on Adelaide Tambo Avenue have moved on, but Angela’s affection for the new clutch of babies and toddlers hasn’t dimmed. Now, as Cultural Coordinator overseeing music, drama and art at Redwood College, La Lucia, she suggested the school’s student outreach committee consider giving new life to the wall as a meaningful way to give back to and engage with the community.

The Redwood high school fans of the world’s most renowned street artist, Banksy, spent a good portion of Valentine’s Day hosing down, scrubbing and priming the 10 metre wall and then set to ‘replanting’. Standing back and admiring their handiwork, heads of the outreach committee, Megan Anamourlis and Kiera van Eden, declared: “We wanted to express love for the small residents at the home on this day linked with love. We think that the wall is a happy, warm welcome to all visitors and a declaration of the love which fills the Babies’ Home.”

Angela, whose four children all attend Redwood College, expressed her gratitude to Mica Durban North and Duram Smart Paints for their generous sponsorship of the paint for the project. House Mother at the home, Precious Thabethe, said that more than 170 children have been part of the ‘family’ over the two decades since its establishment: “Every act of love like this of the Redwood students adds something special to the little ones’ lives.” She encouraged anyone who has a heart for making a difference in children whose start in life has often been very hard to contact Domino on 031 110 0730 or marketing@domino.org.za

Caption: Redwood student, Megan Anamourlis, enjoys watching a small member of the ‘family’ at Domino’s Babies’ Home add a finishing touch to the school’s Cultural Coordinator Angela Altern’s makeup.

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Adoption Story from Durban To Calgary

Seven years ago, siblings Jade and James made the 16,285 km journey to Calgary, Canada. There, winter lows hit the minus-thirties, a long way from subtropical Durban where The Domino Foundation’s Babies’ Home had been their world for as long as they could remember.

Online searched led Canadian fireman, Owen Watson, and his wife, Jolene, to Domino’s website. They made contact and heard of a little girl and her brother needing a loving home. The couple made the long journey to meet their “ready-made” family and then take them to their new home where everything would be totally different to what they had ever known.

Dad Watson recently emailed the home to say both are very healthy and are growing like weeds. 11-year old Jade has all the attitude of a healthy tweenager and 9-year old James apparently could “power the entire city of Joburg on the amount of energy he expends in a day”. The two have a good solid group of friends and an exceptionally supportive community of neighbours and the loving foundation received whilst in Domino’s care! #foreverfamilies

If you would like more information on adoption or support the Domino Babies Home to love and care for more champions like Jade and James Owen please connect with us on admin@domino.org.za – Reference I love adoption

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BABIES HOME UPDATE 1st QUARTER

The end of the first quarter marked a very significant point in The Domino Foundation’s Babies’ Home programme. At the end of March, Linda Davis, who had been with the home since its inception, retired after many years of faithful service. “It has been an amazing journey of being able to give love to so many precious little people who have been abandoned,” said Linda. Precious Thabete, who has worked with Linda all those years and who also has a great heart of compassion and rich experience in being able to meet the children’s needs, has taken over her responsibilities. Read the entire feature “Farewell, Gogo” here.

This momentous change came at the same time as the decision was made to close the one home (‘Ububele’) at 125 Adelaide Tambo Drive, leaving ‘Fair Havens’ to cater for six children at any one time. There was no doubt that this is the perfect timing as a number of adoptions were in process and so several children would be leaving for their new adoptive homes shortly. With the new set-up with a single home and staff, the vision has been refined to ensure that training of the staff is even better so that the children are as whole and ready for their new family as possible when they leave the “Fair Havens”.

Although the decision to close “Ububele”, this new dispensation will put the Babies’ Home programme into a position where it can take on more fully the critical task, with other adoption and babies’ homes facilities and groups, the pressing issue of advocacy on behalf of abandoned and orphaned children in South Africa. Sandy Hamblin, leader of the babies’ Home programme now sits on the Adoption Coalition board and two very good meetings had already been held. The Babies’ Home programme has also joined forces with the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa whose aim is to promote and build awareness and understanding of adoption, build partnerships and collaboration across the adoption community and lobby government and regulators on behalf of the adoption community, leading the change needed in our society to embrace adoption as the best permanent solution for children, outside of their family.

It is always so gratifying when reports and stories come to the Babies Home of how children who have been adopted are faring with their new families. Jade and James, the brother and sister who left in December 2017, bound for Calgary in Canada, have settled into their very different new environment exceptionally well. They haven’t been daunted by the below freezing temperatures or short days, and making “snow angels” the deep drifts of the white stuff quickly became a favourite pastime. Their dad and mum have set very strict media restrictions in place and have seen great improvement in both Jade and James’ learning capacity. In the 5 months since they left South Africa, both are excelling with their alphabet, learning to read, colouring within the lines, and following instructions in a structured environment. We look forward to more reports of the progress of these siblings.

Stories like these keep the #DominoEffect alive. If you would like to be a part of ‘changing lives’, please contact Sandy Hamblin (sandy@anthem.org.za).

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Stories from the nursery: 3rd Quarter 2016

The two Domino Babies Homes have seen a flurry of activity over the past three months. Not only has there been lots of day-to-day maintenance as well as volunteers coming to play with our babies but on the night of the 1st September 2016, a passerby alerted us to a tiny newborn that had been abandoned on our doorstep. Needless to say, we jumped into rescue mode.

We immediately brought her inside and warmed her up, phoned the police and then took her to the hospital to be checked. Not even a day old the little girl might have had a rough start to her life but we count it SUCH a privilege to care for these precious children and are constantly in awe that we are able to change destinies through all programmes at The Domino Foundation.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our two Babies Homes – your support has not gone unnoticed! A big thank you to Dischem  and the Christain Motorcycle Association who donated large amounts of much-needed baby supplies.

 

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In Ububele…

Baby R continues to thrive in Grade R and in all school activities. The lively seven-year-old has been with Domino for a year. Just like the other children Baby R started to come into her own after arriving at Domino, the care and love of the Babies’ Home staff settling her soul and stimulating her mind.

Baby S’s is a five-year-old boy who arrived at the Domino Babies’ Home almost a year ago after he was abandoned at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital. His health is improving every day and we know he’ll be strong enough to go to school next year.

Baby U is settling in nicely to her new home and is learning how to speak English and isiZulu. The police found the little two-year-old girl walking on the street. Precious and the caregivers believe she’s from another African country because she’s been unable to speak in English, isiZulu or Xhosa. After a few months of gentle guidance and teaching, she now is starting to learn the names of the other children and some simple words.

Baby V is a bubbly little ball of joy. The seven-month-old has just learned how to crawl and is enjoying her new transition home. Child welfare is still investigating her family and deciding if she should be adopted or taken back to her family.

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In Fairhavens…

Baby Q is a healthy seven-month-old who has recovered from his chest and breathing problems. He’s now ready for adoption and the social workers are looking for a home for Baby Q.

Baby M is a beautiful five-year-old girl who has been with Domino Babies’ Home for over a year. She loves going to Preschool and is busy preparing for the school play, which is coming up soon. Child welfare is still looking for a loving home for the little girl.

Baby N is the brother of Baby M and has just gone through a phase of ‘the terrible twos’ – something all parents will be familiar with! The home’s routine, as well as the caregivers’ constant love, has ensured Baby N has moved through the terrible twos and into the next, much calmer, stage of his development.

Baby O and Baby P are sisters and are in the process of finding their forever home. As it is with all adoptions and fostering it’s up to the children to determine the pace of leaving the transitional home – once they have warmed up to their new parents then the adoption can go ahead.

 

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Stories from the nursery: 2nd Quarter 2016

Our two Babies Homes, Fairhavens and Ububele, are currently caring for ten babies and toddlers. That ten’s little lives we’re able to provide a safe, stimulating and happy home for. Apart from being busy with the daily routines of caring for ten little ones we’ve also busy with getting our children ready for adoption. That means visits to court, doctors and meetings with the social workers. This past quarter we’ve said goodbye to one of our babies, a seven-month-old, who has been adopted by an awesome local family.

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In Ububele…

Baby R has been with Crisis Care mom Precious for almost a year. The little six year old is at a local Preschool and loves learning new things everyday. Swimming and ballet are some of her favourite after-school activities and she even received a medal for swimming. Baby R is now ready for adoption.

Baby S’s health condition is improving. The five year old boy arrived at the Domino Babies’ Home almost a year ago after he was abandoned at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital. When he arrived he was very sick and it was decided that for his health it was better for him to stay at the home and not go to preschool so that he can gain his strength back – which has been doing in leaps and bounds!

Baby T is a happy twenty month year old baby who is doing well under the care and guidance of the home. Since he’s arrived he’s gained weight and has learned to crawl – keeping the caregivers running around after him!

Baby U is a healthy little two year old girl who was found walking on the street by the police. Precious and the caregivers believe she’s from another African country because she’s been unable to speak in English, isiZulu or Xhosa. After taking some time to settle into her new home she’s finally starting to learn some words in isiZulu and English and is slowly gaining her communication skills back.

Baby V was bought to the social workers by her grandma because it is believed that her mother is unfit to look after her child. A bubbly little ball of joy the seven month old has just learned how to crawl and is enjoying her new transition home.

In Fairhavens…

Baby Q is a seven month old that is almost ready for adoption. He’s been battling with his breathing so has been undergoing testing at Addington Hospital with results still pending. We’re praying for a quick and smooth recovery.

Baby M is a beautiful five year old girl who has been with Domino Babies’ Home for over a year. She loves going to Preschool and always comes home excited and ready for school the next day.

Baby N is brother of Baby M and has really grown up in the home and is learning his place in the house. He’s now a two year old boy, very different from the baby he was  when he arrived .

Baby O is a little girl who just had her third birthday. She’s sister to Baby P, an eleven month old. Both pairs of siblings are in complicated legal cases and have not been abandoned but have been placed in the Domino Babies’ Home by Social workers because their home environment is unsafe. Their cases are both still pending so until they are sortd Domino Babies’ Home will continue to provide a place of refuge and restoration.

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#KnowYourNPO #Domino

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If you’ve ever wondered what the Domino Foundation actually does… here’s your chance to #KnowYourNPO! This quarter we’re unpacking what the Domino Foundation does on a larger scale.

#1: We are a group of like-minded individuals that believe in the power of a changed life. We have a range of community outreach programmes that focus on the individual, to empower, uplift and transform their lives so they too can impact the nation and others around them. We currently impact the lives of just over 4000 individuals every single day, ranging from 0 to 18 years of age.

#2: We seek to assist and empower the neediest in communities to pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. Our dream is to equip individuals physically, emotionally, socially, cognitively and spiritually to enable purpose-filled lives.

#3: We manage focused interventions and initiatives operating into the spaces of education, nutrition, injustice, child support and business development. So depending on your company’s CSR policy and specific area of impact, we have a diverse offering across multiple geographic locations to suit your needs with the ultimate goal being the same: to empower, uplift and transform our communities.

#4: We believe that for effective social change to take place within communities, we need to work effectively in three key areas. Namely social charity, social justice and social entrepreneurship to holistically transform communities.

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#5: Over the years we have witnessed changed lives, changing other lives and we’ve termed this #TheDominoEffect. As we have impacted, uplifted and transformed an individual’s life, they have gone and transformed their immediate family’s lives, and they have gone on to impact and transform their community’s lives and so a beautiful ripple effect, or #DominoEffect of changed lives takes shape. We believe that you change a community, by changing an individual!

#6: We rely on support from a host of like-minded businesses, individuals, partner organisations, schools, churches, international supporters & activists and sporting enthusiasts. So if you know of any, start your own #DominoEffect and share the love!

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#7: We couldn’t do what we do without an AMAZING team. These people LOVE doing what they do and what nothing more than to uplift, encourage, support and transform people’s lives. Dedicated, inspired, driven and fun, our teams are truly the best around!

#8: Ways to support ALL

There are SO many ways for EVERYONE to get involved. Whether you’re in school, a group of interested staff members, corporate’s looking to satisfy your #BEE scorecard or simply an individual with a heart for others, there is space for YOU to join the #DominoEffect.

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#9: Our support process is super simple. SUPPORT > RECEIVE DOCUMENTATION > FEEL GOOD. Repeat!

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New season, new roles

With a new season comes new leadership. As the Domino Foundation increases its capacity to reach more communities there have been some internal shifts to ensure that the hands who do this work are passionate, skilled and ready to impact lives.

At the beginning of the year Mickey Wilkins stepped down as CEO of the Domino Foundation. After twelve incredible years of leading the non-profit Mickey has now decided to look after the sustainability of Domino and has started Domino Business. As of February 2016 the Domino Foundation welcomed in a new CEO, Richard Mun-Gavin, lead pastor of Cogs Church. Not only does Richard bring a wealth of pastoral experience but his passion for people means he’s more than ready to take Domino into a new season of growth.

Shaun Tait has officially moved into the role of  COO and is overseeing the day to day operations of all the programmes and its staff. Although a tall task Shaun has slid into his role with effort and ease.

After heading up the ECD team since its inception Toni Wilkins has decided to focus her attentions on the Life Skills programme and counselling at the Door of Hope Counselling Centre. The team is now been led by the capable Jessica King, who moved over from donor relations. Jessica is more than qualified for the position and brings her unique learnings from her studies, a Bachelor of Social Science in Organisational Psychology and Industrial Sociology and a Foundation Phase Teaching qualification and is currently Clinical Psychology. Jessica also handles the Domino volunteers.

And in the feeding programme Cathy Whittle has taken over the reigns as Programme Manager. Cathy comes from the cooking industry and has the heaps of experience needed to steer the many Domino feeding projects in the right direction. In case you’ve forgotten, that’s our Sandwich Kitchen, Soup Kitchen and Relief Kitchen. Past Project Manager, Brenda Scheepers has moved onto an exciting venture with Domino Business, which you can read more about here.

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Join the #DominoRiders as they tackle the 2016 CAPE TOWN CYCLE TOUR to raise funds for abandoned babies in KZN!

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THE DOMINO FOUNDATION – WHO WE ARE  

We are a non-profit organisation that believes in the power of a changed life. We assist the most vulnerable in communities and have noticed that by changing their life, they continue to change their families lives and the community at large. This creates a beautiful #DominoEffect of changed lives, changing lives. We have a range of community outreach programmes that focus on the individual to empower, uplift and transform their lives so they too can impact the nation and others around them. Across our 5 programmes we are impacting just over 4000 individuals on a daily basis between the ages of 0 – 18 years.

THE CAUSE – ABANDONED BABIES IN KZN

THE DOMINO FOUNDATION has two abandoned babies homes situated in Durban North. Our heart and vision is to create a safe, stimulating and nurturing environment for these discarded children and to see them restored to fullness and adopted into a loving family unit. We have had well over 100 babies adopted from our homes and the recent opening of our second house has allowed us to increase our capacity and impact the millions of orphans in our country. The #DominoRiders will raise much needed funds for THE DOMINO FOUNDATION to continue to provide this life-saving service to orphaned and abandoned babies and give them a life-changing second chance in life.

#DOMINORIDERS – THE CYCLE CHALLENGE & DETAILS

Join the #DominoRiders as they tackle 2016’s Cape Argus Cycle Tour in support of THE DOMINO FOUNDATION. The team will take to the beautiful peninsula of Cape Town to cycle through some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, while completing the 109KM that is The Cape Town Cycle Tour. THE DOMINO FOUNDATION has secured a charity batch which provides GUARANTEED ENTRIES, a GROUP START TIME (seeded times allow for earlier start if rider qualifies) and LATER CLOSING DATES for entries.

The #DominoRiders also qualify for a truly spectacular cycling package.

R3000-00 per entry gets you;

  • Guaranteed Cape Town Cycle Race entry
  • High quality Domino Cycling kit (Cycling shirt & pants)
  • Domino Goodie Bag
  • And a generous donation towards the abandoned babies homes

Entries open on Friday 06 November 2015 with all payment & details required by Wednesday 13 Jan 2016.

Simply contact Tarin Stevenson (tarin@domino.org.za) if you are interested in joining the #DominoRiders as they tackle the CapeTown Cycle Race 2016 for THE DOMINO FOUNDATION!

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What would you do if you found an abandoned baby?

Carers (39)What to do if you find an abandoned baby

Vulnerable, exposed, helpless… an abandoned baby begins their life in a powerless position. But that doesn’t have to be the end of their story and with the right knowledge and support structures these precious lives can not only be saved but delivered into greatness.

There are no recent statistics on child abandonment in South Africa, but most organisations believe that the numbers have increased since the statistic released by Child Welfare that 3500 babies were abandoned in 2010.* A highly complex issue abandonment is caused by many factors, including weak support structures, gender inequality, violence, HIV/AIDS, mass urbanisation, the vulnerability of young girls and overwhelming poverty.* Abandoned babies can be left in a number of places, with the highest frequency of spots being toilets, drains, sewers and gutters; rubbish dumps and landfills; parks or an open veld; baby safes and hospitals.*

Whatever the reason and wherever they are placed it’s important to know exactly what to do in this situation so that help can be administered immediately. Child Welfare Durban and District (CWDD) is mandated by the Department of Social Development (DSD) to render services to the abandoned babies.They have kindly shared their expertise on what to do if you find an abandoned baby.

  • CWDD would then submit a Form 39 application to the DSD on behalf of the temporary safe facility to obtain authorisation to care for the child temporarily whilst CWDD completes the investigations on the child.
  • You are allowed to pick up the baby to share some warmth and love as it will probably be cold. Unfortunately, if the baby has passed away it cannot be touched.
  • Phone the South African Police Force (SAPS). This must be your first port of call because in essence you are stepping into a criminal case. Abandonment is illegal and the SAPS will need to open a case and start an investigation.  SAPS would then liaise with CWDD to place the child in temporary safe care in a facility such as Fairhavens Baby Home.
  • Stay where you are. You are not allowed to take the baby to a place of safety (like Fairhavens) or the hospital, that is the role of the police officer and they will come to you.
  • Once the police have arrived they will take the baby to the District surgeon for a medical assessment.
  • From this point on CWDD will investigate into the case. Once the Form 39 is approved by DSD, the SAPS will inform the Children’s Court that the child has been abandoned and recommend an initiation of the Children’s Court Inquiry. The Children’s Court will then refer the Inquiry to CWDD for investigations pending finalisation.  Upon receipt of this referral a social worker would be assigned to the child to undertake the necessary investigations and recommend to the court options for the permanency placement of the child.

Throughout this whole process it’s important to keep calm and think clearly. Seek counsel if you are battling with the trauma of the event.

Abandonment and adoption are governed by Children’s Act 38 of 2005, one of the largest pieces of  legislation to be created under our new constitution in SA.

Sources

-Jasu Jagjivan, Adoptions: Manager, Child Welfare Durban & District

*National Adoption Coalition, Fact Sheet on Child Abandonment Research in South Africa, http://www.adoptioncoalitionsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Fact-Sheet-Research-on-Child-Abandonment-in-South-Africa_Final2.pdf

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Babies Effects May

Smiles, laughs and squeals of delight, all of the Domino Foundation’s tots are happy and healthy and growing up at an alarming rate. Isn’t it amazing how under the right care and love, children just flourish!

Our Babies Homes are a place of safety for abandoned babies that have found themselves without a guardian for a number of reasons. These include weak support structures, gender inequality, violence, HIV/AIDS, mass urbanisation, the vulnerability of young girls and overwhelming poverty.

If for whatever reason you come across an abandoned baby there is a certain procedure you need to follow. Child Welfare and our team from the Domino Babies Homes share their advice on what to do if you find yourself in this high-pressure situation.

Ntokozo, the little six-year-old boy who is staying at our second babies home Ububele, is blossoming at school. He’s currently in Grade R at Care Bare Pre-school class and impresses everyone with his good behaviour and lovable smile. He’s still on the lookout for a bicycle to play with in the afternoons.

The other six children at Fairhavens have been enjoying their ‘playtime’ and creative stimulation by the two volunteers who have been spending their Friday afternoons at Fairhavens. The volunteers have been doing activities that help with developing the tots’ gross motor and fine motor skills, reading age appropriate books and helping out with any admin tasks that pop up. The Babies Home is very lucky to have these two dedicated ladies!

A big thank you to the Union of Jewish Women, Durban Executive Branch, who donated a colourful jungle gym to Fairhavens. The children have been over the moon with their new ‘toy’!

Fairhavens and Ububele go through a tremendous pile of nappies every day, amounting to an astounding 450 per week, and are in desperate need of nappies and toiletries (like wetwipes). If you are kind enough to donate nappies please remember to purchase Pampers, huggies or cuddlers nappies, as cheaper versions give the babies nappy rashes and end up costing more in the long run.

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