Robyn Clark, along with her mom, Lena Clark, are founders of The Baby Box Project, an initiative that provides essential care kits for new moms and babies in need. We sat down with Robyn to chat about her and Lena’s initiative and how they first came to helping SA’s new moms in SA, with all the essentials after birth.
“It all started when my mom, Lena, and I found ourselves in similar situations. A colleague of mine was pregnant and
in need of some essential items for her baby. Around the same time, my mom’s gardener had just had twins and was unsure of how he would provide for them as they were unexpected. As moms ourselves, we felt a natural inclination to help.
We put together two hampers with all of the essentials one would need after having a baby, such as nappies, a blanket and baby clothes. Both families were so grateful for receiving the donations. It was a small act of kindness but it went such a long way. That feeling really stuck with us, and led us to starting The Baby Box Project, an NPO that would provide new moms and babies with essential care hampers.
We registered the NPO and worked through the necessary administrative tasks like requiring a tax exemption in order to receive donations. We then created social media pages, a website and started an emailing list where we would share news about the organisation and what we had planned.
Our network of donors and volunteers grew quite quickly – schools donated various essentials, grannies donated knitted jerseys and blankets, corporates and individuals made monetary donations, and volunteers offered to help us put
In every hamper, we include nappies, sanitary pads, a bottle of water, baby soap, hand sanitiser, bum cream or Vaseline, cotton wool or wet wipes, a facecloth, a vest and Babygro, a jersey and leggings, a beanie and a pair of socks, a blanket, an Impact flyer and a letter of encouragement. We also include a book from Book Dash. We like encouraging moms to raise children who read.
Being in the maternity ward on delivery day and handing out hampers always brings us closer to the cause. Often we get told that we are part of a mommy’s very first baby shower, or that a certain baby would have gone home wrapped in an old towel T-shirt, if we had not visited. On some occasions, we’ve had the honour of naming a baby or dressing them in clothing for the very first time.
The most meaningful part of the whole experience is to see the tentative hope of a mom holding her baby for the first time.
Volunteers keep our organisation running on a day-to-day basis. From packing bags to collecting donations and distributing our deliveries, we could not do what we do without our team. Recently we celebrated giving hampers to over 10 000 moms! We have also received wonderful feedback from hospitals stating that the rate of baby abandonment has decreased since we have been working there regularly. We can’t attribute this to our efforts alone, however, we do suspect our work does play a part.
Moms bond with their babies in the first six days of life, and if the immediate needs of mom and baby are taken care of, it is much easier to have the time to bond with the baby instead of worrying about the essentials.
My mom and I are sometimes so taken aback by what we’ve been able to accomplish with our amazing team of donors and volunteers at The Baby Box Project, an initiative that makes such a remarkable difference started with just the two of us, and a choice that would positively impact somebody else.
There are so many people in our world; there will always be someone who needs help. My advice is: Look for the other helpers, and then join forces. There are many ways to get involved – find something that you are passionate about and then find a way to help others.”
Reach out and help
The Baby Box Project accepts any of these contents as donations towards a Baby Box:
- Baby soap
- Cotton wool
- 500 ml bottles of water.
Feature Image: Unsplash