The Pear Tree Community Service Project &
In 2015, as part of my commitment to improving birth, I became a regular, volunteer doula and Executive Committee Member of the Volunteer Program at New Somerset Hospital in Cape Town. The Volunteer Centre is no longer operational but I now mentor trainee doulas at the hospital and still try to organise handouts of mom-and-baby bags or boxes as often as possible.
The women that come into hospital are often without partners and from an impoverished background.
They come to hospital without much more than the clothes they are wearing and have been unable to make provision for themselves or their baby. There is a desperate need to assist these women and provide them with some comfort and dignity during this life-changing time, provide encouragement and hope and light the way for them as they embark on their journey into motherhood.
In October 2014, after working with the Volunteer Coordinator at the hospital it came to light that what was sorely lacking was basic toiletries such as maternity pads for after the birth. It was then that I wanted to extend the amount of support I give these women so I decided to set about finding a way to provide mothers like these with more than just my time. I wanted to find a way of giving them something useful and practical. A gift that continued to send my message of support to them and a reminder of my belief in them after I had left.
I gathered donations of fabric from numerous fabric shops, set about finding ladies who could sew bags using the donated fabric and brainstormed ways to find people who would donate toiletries to add to the packs.
I have had the support of many ladies (from Saint Oswald’s Church, Milnerton and other individuals) who kept a constant supply of beautiful hand-sewn bags streaming in, received a bumper toiletry donation from Edgemead Primary School (which helped kickstart the project) and beautiful beanies and jerseys were donated by a small, local group of knitters. In addition, the WOMBS* doula-training organisation also donated nappies, maternity pads and toiletries. In 2015 the employees of Old Mutual provided us with over 100 Shoeboxes of Love just in time for Christmas. We were able to bless so many mothers!
Our past and present beneficiaries include:
– Mater Domini Home, Claremont
– Hopefield Clinic, West Coast
– New Somerset Hospital, Cape Town
– Paternoster Satellite Clinic, West Coast
– Grace and Clara, Redhill
The Pear Tree Project (so-called as the pear tree represents a gift from the angels, symbolizes spiritual nourishment, blessings, strength and fruitfulness), has thus evolved. And as we grow so will the number of moms who can benefit from our support.
If you are interested in becoming involved in any way (fundraising, donation drives, sewing or other) please contact me, Tarryn, via the contact page.
*W.O.M.B.S Organisation – Women Offering Mothers Birth Support