Zoe Project supports mothers

Staff and volunteers seated, from left, Debbie Herring, Miyonteze Samirah, Colleen Kondon and Tracey Atken. At the back are Vanessa de Standler, Mich Nel and Ayhsa Alexander.

The Great Zoe Project Baby Shower, in support of moms and babies, took place at the Jolly Carp Market, in Retreat, on Saturday November 24.

The Zoe Project, a non-profit organisation, assists disadvantaged pregnant mothers during and after pregnancy.

The mothers are assessed to see if they have substance addictions and are referred to a rehabilitation centre if they do.

The Zoe Project supports mothers at Retreat and Hanover Park community health centres who cannot afford food and clothing for their babies.

Tracey Aitken, from Lakeside, said she started the initiative 17 years ago.

She said there are many young mothers who fall pregnant and do not know how to take care of the baby and themselves.

“We make sure they have food and make up the mom and baby packs including toothbrush, toothpaste, maternity sanitary pads, soap, face cloth, lip-ice, deodorant and snacks.

“The baby packs included baby clothes, nappies, blankets, baby products and toys.

“We also make sure that the mom is happy with the birth choice and we empower and nurture them. We have 34 volunteers and our aim is to give them love and support.”

Vanessa Destadler, from Retreat, a doula and breastfeeding counsellor, said she helps mothers with breastfeeding, for example, to help the baby latch on to the breast.

“I also help them until they are confident to handle the baby themselves.”

Ms Destadler said the challenges young women face were endless and the Zoe Project always needs assistance.

“The youngest mom I have encountered was a 13-year-old girl.”

She said every year they have new mothers to take care of and to date they have made up 120 mom packs for mothers from Retreat and Hanover Park.

They are working on a special Christmas pack.

To support the Zoe Project, contact Ms Destadler on 082 688 5215 or Ms Aitken on 073 174 1992 or visit The Zoe Project Facebook page for more information.