Lucinda Evans was born in District Six, but then moved to Lavender Hill at age five. Despite growing up in a family where no one participated in community development, she decided at the age of nine that this is what she wanted to do.
In the early years of her life started working for Red Cross Hospital. She also spent some time working in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. Because of her passion for the work she was doing, she played a pivotal role in opening the first ambulance service in Beaufort West.
“During one of my trips in the Eastern Cape I had food poisoning. I was all alone and a group of women took care of me for two days: feeding me, cleaning up after me and they even cleaned my car.” This was when she learned the phrase: ‘Philisa Abafazi Bethu’, which translates to ‘Heal Our Women’.
Lucinda started her organisation in 2008 and named it Philisa Abafazi Bethu. She had no funding for the organisation, only passion and determination.
“I took out two bonds on my house and used the money that was saved up for my daughter’s studies to assist with the operational cost of the organisation.”
In the organisation’s fourth year, the Queen of Sweden’s World Childhood Foundation became a patron of the organisation.
Philisa Abafazi Bethu offers two main projects which are divided into smaller programmes. The child and youth protection project includes an after school programme, a youth programme and a surfing group.
“Some of the kids had the opportunity to go to Table Mountain and the aquarium.”
The women empowerment project includes a senior programme, a parenting skills programme, a women’s support group, a court support programme and the baby saver.
“In 2016 a mother left her one year old baby on my stoep. The baby started crawling towards the gate when my family and I discovered the baby. On 21 October 2017 another baby was left in front of my door. It was storming outside and the baby was left in a Shoprite bag with the umbilical cord still attached to the baby.”
“I decided to install a baby saver at my house where helpless mothers can place their unwanted babies. It is an easy-to-use metal container that is built into the wall of my house. As soon as a baby is placed into the baby saver, it sends a signal to our security company as well as to us to ensure that the baby gets assisted immediately.”
The baby gets taken to a baby room on the property and from there the little one gets hospitalised for medical examination. After this the adoption process starts.
The first baby was placed in the baby saver on a Saturday morning. “The mother of the baby came in contact with me and informed me that the baby was born the Thursday already [two days before the baby was placed in the baby saver].”
Lucinda was happy to announce on social media that the first child was placed in the baby saver. More than 31000 people reacted to post in support of what she was doing.
“People who struggle to have children even offered to adopt the baby.”
Lucinda desires to build a centre for women and children where they can be safe.
“I need six million rand to build it. I don’t know where it is coming from but I believe that I would be able to achieve it.”
When asked what drives her to do what she is doing, her reply was simple.
“My faith, my wild hair and my wild personality.”
For more information about Philisa Abafazi go to: http://www.philisaabafazi.org
Tell us: How do you feel about the baby saver that Lucinda came up with?