Abandoned but in a safe place

Employees of the Internet company Yalwa from Wiesbaden-Erbenheim donate to a baby hatch at the Löwenmut children's home and hospice near Johannesburg.

WIESBADEN/KILPRIVER. "We want to help offer desperate mothers and their children an alternative." Alina Kilian, 30, and software product manager at WIESBADEN/ KILPRIVER

"We want to help offer desperate mothers and their children an alternative." Alina Kilian, 30, and software product manager at Yalwa in Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, stands with Adele Modoo in the hot South African sun, where it's summer right now. But neither the surroundings nor the subject correspond to tourist clichés. Instead, a brick cottage with a metal hatch, behind it a fenced-in area. "It's unfortunately part of everyday life that babies are simply discarded and left to their fate," says Adele Modoo. She runs the Löwenmut children's home and -hospice Löwenmut in Kilpriver near Johannesburg. Adele shows Alina the Baby Saver, which was built thanks to donations from Alina and her colleagues at the Erbenheim-based Internet company Yalwa. It is the eleventh safe drop-off site created in South Africa.

Bitter poverty, unemployment, diseases such as AIDS, but also reservations and worries when a child is born with severe limitations are often the reasons why babies are abandoned. Like little Sipho, who came to the Löwenmut children's hospice last May and died in the fall at an estimated age of six. "We don't know his birth name or his exact age," Modoo said. "But we do know he was found in a hospital bathroom in 2020. His parents could not be located," Adele said. At Löwenmut Children's Hospice, the seriously ill boy not only received the palliative medical care he needed, but also a great deal of care and love. At least Sipho spent the last phase of his life sheltered and cared for.

The company Yalwa digitally connects people and markets. It has 60 employees from more than 25 countries. Alina reports on the internal commitment to the Baby Saver: "We took turns baking cakes and quiches, and our colleagues dug deep into their wallets for it." The two Yalwa managing directors Klaus Gapp and Dr. Anja Gapp-Binder topped up, so that the required five-figure sum was raised.

"We have a daughter ourselves. I don't even like to imagine how desperate parents must be to leave their baby helpless. Every child that is saved by the Baby Saver and given a perspective is worth our involvement," says Anja Gapp-Binder.

IFB Chairman Wolfgang Groh, who initiated Löwenmut in 2011 and continues to drive the development of the facility, explains what happens next for the babies after they are placed in the Baby Saver: "If the babies are diagnosed with a disability, they stay at Löwenmut and are cared for and looked after there. If they are healthy, they are taken into care by another nonprofit organization and can also be adopted, following a set procedure."

Currently, 41 children live at Löwenmut; they receive age-appropriate care and support. Last year, Yalwa helped to realize a new wing of the building for the older children of the hospice. For this wing, donations are still needed for the interior and for technical equipment. With the new part of the building, more children with disabilities can be accommodated, so that about 50 people with disabilities will have a home.