Feed the Babies Fund has been addressing the issue of food security and specifically malnutrition, among orphans and vulnerable children since 1957 by providing fortified cereals to the most destitute and marginalised group in society; babies and children. We provide meals to over 7500 children on a daily basis. Our service to our beneficiaries is essential and life changing. Feed the Babies Fund has been a voice for the poor and hungry for over 55 years.
Feed the Babies Fund has always worked in community context that is well below the poverty line and where earning capacity is minimal (below R350 a household) or non-existent. Working with the most vulnerable and marginalised, we have sought to improve the basic level of existence by providing free meals to communities, and specifically children, in KZN. Our beneficiaries lack access to food, shelter and the very basic resources that would result in a comfortable life style. While these may be basic human rights, our beneficiaries are ill-equipped to engage with structures and institutions to articulate their needs and their dire circumstances.
Today we work in KwaZulu-Natal with approximately 250 crèches, providing cereal, foodstuffs and other resources, improving their administrative processes, training them in Early Childhood Development, basic hygiene and first aid, supporting the crèches where possible in becoming self-sustaining and supporting them in registering their organisations with the Department of Social Development.
Feed the Babies Fund works with the most underprivileged areas, characterised by high unemployment, low levels of education, the general lack of amenities and a lack of employment opportunities. Living conditions are over-crowded shacks or mud-huts, with poor or no sanitation. Coupled with this, we work in areas where children do not have access to health care facilities and recreational facilities. Many of the babies and children are orphans as result of their parents passing on due to HIV / AIDS. Some children are HIV positive. Many are in the care of their grandparents, aunts or elder siblings. For most of our beneficiaries it is a case of survival; most do not have access to food, parental care and comfort and lack a safe and clean environment.
Their grandparents may or may not receive a grant, making basic household food security a challenge. It is difficult to resource even basic needs for daily living. The characteristic absence of food, emotion and mental stimulation, care and love, makes for a challenging and depressing environment.
By definition, the areas we service are food insecure. Food security is a complex issue, but in the main it relates to access, availability, stability and utilisation. It is a sustainable developmental concern related to health and malnutrition. Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. Babies and children are dependent on their adult support system to ensure that they receive nourishing and healthy food; but for our beneficiaries; including the adults, even consuming one meal a day is a luxury.
In its support of crèches, Feed the Babies Fund focuses on firstly, in its core projects, on child development; and specifically, nutrition, education, safety and hygiene; and secondly, through the Adopt-A-Crèche Project, we endeavour to improve the conditions of the crèches.