In December 2012 we moved home to Bredasdorp, an hour’s drive away from our home in Montagu. In January 2013 we started to supply Swellendam and Bredasdorp hospitals. In May we embraced Caledon. Montagu served 40-50 mothers and babies a month, Swellendam 30-40, Bredasdorp 25-30 and Caledon averages 80; plus or minus a total of 180 a month. Whilst it has been very busy it has never stressed or exhausted us.
This increase in numbers has enabled Hug a Baby to purchase wool and materials at lower prices and also embark on blanket and bag production. Within this we have provided some employment to a couple of needy mothers in the township, important as that has been it will be altered in 2014 to something very different.
We have also managed to maintain the high quality standards that we have set ourselves. The project has continuously sought to work with a spirit of excellence. This has reflected itself in the beautiful bags, knitwear and blankets we have managed to give and also the impressive range of articles to meet the basic needs of baby and mother immediately after birth.
The matrons of all the hospitals have wholeheartedly supported and appreciated the bags we supply. Without exception they have completely approved of the bag contents which they have said is excellent and need not be improved upon. The hospitals themselves are putting items they give to the mothers to take home such as baby drinking cups, into the bags.
What has happened this year is that a model for future local support has emerged. In Caledon we have a small team of dedicated ladies who are passionate about the project. They knit clothes and make bags, deliver the bags to the maternity wards, sit and chat with the mothers, particularly the very poor and the distressed. The relationships they enjoy with the staff are wonderful as they have become part of the support system of the maternity ward. We will endeavour to establish such teams in all future expansion.
We have many testimonies of mothers and their families who really appreciate the bags. So many mothers arrive with absolutely nothing and have to return to homes that have none of the creature comforts we all take as normal. The bag is like a ray of sunshine to such mothers.
To our many supporters and sponsors please be encouraged. Your support is providing such a remarkable experience to the lives of such needy people. Paul recently gave a lift to a mother with a baby. On being asked if she got a bag from the hospital the mother pulled a blanket out of her bag. Proudly and without prompting she shared how practical, and wonderful the bag was to her. Paul had made the blanket.
This year Hug a Baby was finally registered as a Non Profit Organisation. This ensures the need of an auditor and provides donors with the facility of tax incentives to give. Hug a Baby also has its own bank account outside of the Lishtol npc which has been so helpful in assisting us to this position. With the generosity of donors we have managed to stay solvent this whole year and to very much improve our buying power.
So I thank you with all my heart for helping. It has been a remarkable 2013 and I expect 2014 to be very similar with more delightful people such as you becoming friends of Hug a Baby.
Project Founder and Manager