Rhoda, a caregiver at Neema House, has been writing articles for the local newspaper in Laikipia County, where the Neema House is located. We are so proud of Rhoda and her heart for these precious little ones. Here is her latest article.
Child Abandonment: What to do….
It is devastating to hear reports of newborn babies who have been found dead in various parts of the County. These deaths are not usually attributed to ailing health, but as a result of being left out in the cold for hours after being abandoned at a tender age. Such cases could have been avoided had proper legal avenues been explored by the parents into offering the baby for adoption (known as “mother offer” and fully allowed by the law). Another way these deaths can be avoided is for we as community members to remain vigilant and pay close attention to our surroundings as sometimes a baby is wrapped in a paper bag or clothes/blankets and could be heard crying or seen moving by passersby. There are designated official places of safety where a foundling can be taken to. These include the nearest hospitals, police stations, Chief’s Offices and Children’s Offices. It is important the matter be reported to investigative authorities with a view to finding the
parents, who could still be near or known. For older children, sometimes, the authorities might request the Good Samaritan to keep the child temporarily as a referral is made to the next office. But no one can be forced to keep an abandoned child against their will – the priority is rescuing the child from an unsafe environment and further plans for the child can be made through governing authorities.
Fear of victimization or association with the abandonment may also contribute to the rising numbers of abandoned children not making it to places of safety, thus begging the question, “What does one do?” if he or she finds an abandoned child, at birth or later.
1. Rescue the child immediately – newborns are especially susceptible to harsh outdoor environments, so quickly wrap the child in warm blankets or place the child in kangaroo care (skin-to- skin contact) as you report the matter
2. Report the matter to the nearest administration (police, chief, Children’s Office) for further follow up, usually immediately to the nearest medical facility (for newborn cases)
3. You may also contact Neema House Infant Rescue Centre, irrespective of time of day or night for guidance.
In our first County Edition, we explained that among the cases that we admitted were all abandoned children under 2 years with no known relatives. These children are usually referred by the respective Children’s Offices through the police or the hospitals. Many Good Samaritans have gone out of their way to rescue these children from the dingy places they were left in and giving them a new lease of life, in whatever capacity. Neema House Infant Rescue Centre has been a home to these abandoned infants, majority of whom have been adopted into loving families. It is also worth noting that through concerted efforts with the referring authorities, some children have been reunited back with their original families where they are thriving well. Let us all play our part in the rescue of these wonderful children of God.