Image Source: https://www.namibian.com.na/
A COUPLE from Swakopmund, Ronel and Dick Peters have opened their house to babies who are not wanted by their mothers.
The Peters family started the Ruach Elohim Foundation last year in April, after moving from Windhoek to Swakopmund.
Ruach Elohim means ‘Breath of God’ in Hebrew. The foundation was registered with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare as a place of safety.
“We decided to open our house to take care of unwanted, neglected, vulnerable and abandoned babies. This foundation was registered as a means to help stop baby dumping and to prevent babies from dying a horrible and lonely death by the very hands of those who were supposed to take care of them.” said the founder, 46-year-old Ronel Peters.
Peters, who has left her job as a pharmaceutical medical representative, and moved with her husband from Windhoek to Swakopmund to create a safe home, became even more concerned and determined to continue her mission following recent reports of child dumping in the media.
Peters started a campaign three weeks ago, by touring some parts of the country to raise more awareness on baby dumping. She has visited the towns of Usakos Karibib, Omaruru, Otjiwarongo, Otavi, Tsumeb, Omuthiya, Ondangwa, Ongwediva and Oshakati so far, and plans to move on to the rest of Namibia soon.
The couple already has four children from the ages of 0-18 months placed in their care by the social workers through a court order. “While we have this facility, we realised that babies are still being dumped and left in unsafe places. That led us to the conclusion that desperate mothers do not know there are places of safety where they can leave their babies anonymously,” she said.
Peters appealed to mothers who cannot take care of the babies to contact any social worker in her region, hospital or nearest police station or, alternatively, to contact her.
The couple is regularly in touch with the police, social workers and councillors around the country and has had enormous responses from anonymous pregnant woman in need all over the country.
They have three children of their own, who are already adults.
“Our children grew up with babies in the house, and they have always welcomed and loved them like their own family. They have always supported us on this important journey to make a positive difference in the lives of these babies,” she said.
The couple has urged Namibians to get involved in raising more awareness to help them save more babies.
“The foundation was recently introduced to me at the Swakopmund Police Station. It is really a wonderful idea and efforts from public members in the fight baby dumping are welcome. These kind of efforts will reduce or eliminate such social evils. I encourage others to follow their example,” said Swakopmund Police Station commander, chief inspector Moses Aebeb.
Peters has encouraged members of the public to donate to the centre, to allow it to fulfil its obligations.