To provide a temporary place of safety for abandoned and vulnerable babies from birth to one year old from across the Western Cape, a safe and nurturing home environment in which they can grow, develop and thrive.
Our vision is a world in which all vulnerable babies receive the love, care and assistance they need to grow into healthy, loving adults.
65% of abandoned children are newborn babies.
We surround vulnerable babies with love, care and safety
It takes a village to raise a child. And it takes a big and brave heart to build that village from the ground up. Marilyn May has such a heart. Marilyn is the founder of Atlantic Hope – a Place of Safety for babies.
Our country is in the midst of a child protection crisis. Almost a sixth of the 19 million children living in South Africa are orphans, and every year thousands of crisis pregnancies lead to children being placed in the child protection system, or worse, abandoned. Only a third of abandoned children survive, yet that still amounts to 3500 children every year. The reasons are many and varied but all have one result, a baby who is forsaken and left without anyone to care for them, without a home.
While volunteering at a hospital, Marilyn picked up a crying baby and learned about the plight of abandoned babies. On further investigation she discovered that she could become a Safety Parent. Nine years ago, Marilyn took home the first of many tiny babies, and opened the doors of Atlantic Hope. Atlantic Hope is housed in Marilyn’s apartment. She has converted her lounge and dining room into a welcoming, safe, and nurturing space where 6 babies can be accommodated at a time. Her home is refuge to these tiny babies and the band of carers and staff who look after them 24 hours a day.
Since 2010 Atlantic Hope has taken care of 97 babies in need of safety and 24-hour care, some for up to 12 months. Today Atlantic Hope is a registered non-profit organisation that works with Child Protection and Social Service agencies, as well as Adoption Agencies to provide care and promise to the smallest and most vulnerable members of our community. Every baby in temporary safe care at Atlantic Hope has been placed there by order of a Magistrate at a Cape Town Children’s Court.
The Atlantic Hope journey thus far has been one of many challenges, but also one of great fulfillment and pleasure, despite the inevitable tears and heartache. Our greatest reward is seeing the neglected, abandoned or abused babies who arrive at Atlantic Hope, recover to become content, well adjusted and joyful children. This, above all, is what Marilyn remembers when the inevitable challenges arise. It is how Atlantic Hope weathers the tough times of financial difficulty, lack of space to meet the full need, the necessity of medical and other services, and the need to ensure the care of the carers. Atlantic Hope provides basic developmental, physical and mental care for abandoned and vulnerable babies from birth to one year. We ensure that their medical needs are met and that they are fed, kept warm, and given affection in a stable and nurturing environment.
Our long-term vision is to move out of Marilyn’s apartment into more spacious, suitable premises. It is not ideal having the nursery in Marilyn’s lounge and dining room – both for her and for us. We realize that we have to be fully sustainable before we can do this. But we do spend time dreaming of a separate living space for Marilyn, connected to the Atlantic Hope nursery, which extends out into a little garden…. Where we can put mats out on warm summer days and spend some time in the sun with our little ones.
Your assistance helps us to restore love, trust and safety to babies who have been left with nothing. The care of babies is not just what we do, it is our passion. It is our privilege to surround devastated tiny human beings with a circle of love, care and safety. When you support us, you save a baby. We are approved by the Department of Social Development to care for a maximum of 6 babies at a time. The primary focus of our work is that we provide the babies with everything that they need to heal, grow, develop and thrive. We provide food, shelter, clothing, blankets, bassinets, and medication. We ensure that the babies are taken to all of their clinic, vaccination, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and other essential appointments. We provide them with maximum love and nurturing, which is critical for alleviating their trauma and teach them to bond and attach.
The second aspect of our work is to network on a baby’s behalf to find him/her a forever family who will love and cherish them always. We work very closely with his/ her social worker. We keep detailed baby files, tracking every feed, vaccination, milestone, photograph, personality traits, schedule, physical and emotional needs. This helps the social worker to determine the best possible future for a baby, and find and screen potential foster and adoptive families. We actively assist in handling the baby over to his/ her new family by providing as much information as possible, and offering follow-up help and encouragement as is needed after handover. This ensures that the transition into permanent care is as smooth and trauma-free as possible for the baby.
As we are a place of safety, our contact details are private and protected. If you would like to get in touch, please fill in the form and we will contact you.