Eight-month old Grace* was found abandoned in downtown Johannesburg, badly injured from multiple rapes inflicted by men who believed the popular Third World myth that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS.
Grace is just one of thousands of abandoned babies who have been discovered in Johannesburg. Infants are thrown into the street, the garbage, the river, and sewers or toilets, the last of which they can only survive if they land on their backs.
In 1999 there were around 50 babies abandoned in Johannesburg each month. In light of this tragedy, one of God’s daughters felt the Spirit leading her to do something.
Cheryl Allen was serving at Berea Baptist Mission Church in downtown Johannesburg when she installed a bin in her church wall for mothers to place their unwanted babies in, instead of throwing them into garbage bins. Allen no longer works for the church, but directs the Door of Hope ministry she founded in 1999.
As soon as a mother opens the “Door of Hope” and places her baby in the bin, an alarm sounds inside the church, and the baby is rescued and cared for in a Door of Hope home until he or she can be put up for adoption. Because of the Door of Hope, Grace was able to be adopted when she was 3 years old.
Although the Door of Hope has saved nearly 1,000 babies since its creation, there are still 200 babies abandoned each month between Johannesburg and Soweto (South Africa’s largest township, located southwest of Johannesburg). At most 60 of those 200 babies are found alive. In addition, in Soweto it is common knowledge that an additional unknown number of unwanted babies are thrown into the river. Allen hopes to install a bin in Soweto soon, in order to help more children.
“We pray that as God saved them once in giving them life, [and] as God saved them twice in bringing them to us, instead of landing wherever they were thrown, that God would do the final save and save their souls,” Allen said.
- PRAY. Allen asks for prayer because she believes “prayer will get you anything you need, and God gives you what you need and not what you want.”
- VOLUNTEER. Volunteers can serve in a variety of capacities, including taking care of babies, housekeeping, secretarial assistance and staff training. Visit www.DoorOfHope.co.za to find out ways to get involved in this ministry.