It’s all about having a laugh and raising awareness around an important cause.
This is what Dani Janks, the fundraiser at the place of safety Atlantic Hope in Sea Point, said about a charity event being hosted to raise funds for the organisation next month.
The organisation, which is a registered place of safety, was founded by Marilyn May in her flat seven years ago, and still runs from the flat – providing safe-care for vulnerable babies or babies who have been removed from their parents.
They also look after babies who are up for adoption. “We can look after a maximum of six babies at a time and we are looking after five at the moment,” said Ms Janks. “We look after them so that the social workers can determine what the best future will be for them. They will look at adoptive parents or the babies will end up being reunited with their families, with foster families or end up at a children’s home.”
Ms Janks said the organisation was the only place of safety on the Atlantic Seaboard. “We’ve now cared for about 60 babies.”
She added that when they were initially placed there, it was by order of the Cape Town Children’s Court.
“Most of them are with us between three and seven months but we have had some that have been here for as long as 10 months. We had triplets last year who were with us a week before their first birthday.
“Everyone knows that the first 12 months of a baby’s life in terms of bonding and attachment are vital. It is when they learn all their social interaction and a lot of the emotional development.
“The foundations are laid during this early stage. All the research shows that if a baby is taught to bond within the first six months, even if those attachments are broken, the ability to re-attach is so much higher. Our focus is really on teaching them to bond and making sure they feel secure, nurtured and safe.”
She said this makes the transition so much easier when they move to their permanent homes. “These first few weeks and months are vitally important and that’s also why we have tried to create a home environment for them. We won’t compromise on the level of care.”
She thanked the local community, saying that the organisation would not have been able to survive without their support.
She said the funds raised would be used to buy essentials for the babies, as well as covering the cost of employing two day carers and two night carers.
They also receive R27 a baby a day from government.
Ms Janks, who is involved in the fundraising efforts, said every cent counts.
“It means we can bring in as many babies as we can and run at full capacity. It also allows us to get more involved in advocacy and organisations like the National Adoption Coalition.
Abandonment shouldn’t be an option but a lot of mothers don’t know that there are social workers out there and other options. We spend a lot of time doing that and working with social workers.”
The fund-raiser takes place on Monday May 8 at the Cape Town Comedy Club, with local comedian Nik Rabinowitz hosting the event. Tickets are R600 each, which includes a three-course meal.
“We are very excited about it and we are blown away by the response. We contacted a few of the comedians and they replied immediately and agreed to help us, which is phenomenal.”
The event is all about raising funds, awareness and having fun time for a good cause, says Ms Janks. For more information about the event or to find out about how to get involved with Atlantic Hope, contact Ms Janks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 334 8882.