How you can help

We would like your help...

Patients at State hospitals and clinics in South Africa are typically destitute, malnourished, as well as being very sick or injured. Many are jobless, many are homeless, and many have no loved-ones to provide the basic needs for them in hospital.

The Ruth Mailbag Group strives to provide for the needs of destitute moms and babies in the maternity and NICU of our local state hospital and several other hospitals in our country who have asked for our help by providing them with a basic baby pack for their new and or sick babies.

If you can assist please get in touch with us through or visit our blog at for more information.

Yours sincerely,
Joy Coetzee
Founder – The Ruth Mailbag Group

Or a hospital near you... please, browse through the following list, I’m sure you will find a government hospital near you to support:
Contact Details of Public Hospitals in South Africa -
Eastern Cape -
Gauteng Province -
Johannesburg -
KZN -;
Port Elizabeth -
Western Cape -

Friday, 23 March 2012

Newsletter - April 2012

Newsletter - April 2012
 THANK YOU: SA Country Life Magazine (share on facebook); Ladysmith Gazette (space in publication); Ronel, Doreen and Retha (photos); Marie Bruwer; Anonymous; Karen H – UK; Janet Rose – UK; Doreen, family and friends; Gerty; Liz Petzer; Francis L; Ellie W; Phyllis, Sinoville; Retha Fountain; Colleen Raciborska; Karin S; Judy Maccarrone; Joan and Knit a Square.
We greatly appreciate all of our donors and volunteers, without you our group would not exist. Please know that if your name was left off our list it was unintentional and all of your efforts are valued and appreciated.
 World Wide Knit in Public Day is the largest knitter run event in the world.  Each local event is put together by a volunteer or a group of volunteers.  The dates for 2012 is the 9th to the 17th of June - second Saturday to the third Sunday in June. If we hold this event in LADYSMITH KZN again this year will there be any interest/attendance and what date would best suit, recommending any Saturday at 11 o’clock between the 9th and the 17th??? Look forward to hearing from you, soon.  Better living through stitching together. (Copyright © 2011 Astrid Salling Rasmussen all rights reserved.)
 GROUP COORDINATORS: We are looking for group coordinators in Port Shepstone, Kidds Beach/East London, Stanger, Pongola and Nqutu to support those hospitals on our list. If you are interested in hosting a group, please, let us know!
 WELCOME: To Carolyn Turnbull, who has kindly agreed to coordinate our group in East London (Busfare Babies Birth Centre).  She needs all the support you can give her!  Please jump in and help her.  How you can help: JOIN THE “BUSFARE BABIES” GROUP there are many items you could donate to THE BUSFARE BABIES GROUP e.g. Wool /buttons /ribbon; Preterm and term baby clothes, hats, booties, blankets, nappies, sanitary pads, cotton baby blankets; New and good quality 2nd hand goods.  All items donated are much appreciated!!! CAN YOU KNIT, CROCHET OR SEW?  Then why not join or send in your finished items.  Please remember to add your name and address / email so Carolyn can let you know they have arrived...   THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR KINDNESS!   TO SEND DONATED ITEMS CONTACT CAROLYN AND ASK FOR DETAILS.  Contact - Carolyn Turnbull, email
We are trying to get all countries involved with our "BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE" initiative - be a caregiver in your own hometown and hook up with us! Start your own branch of The Ruth Mailbag Group in your own town / country!
Crafters to knit and crochet items for preemies and newborn babies e.g. warm hats, mittens, booties, socks, slippers, jerseys, jackets, vests and blankets for your very own community.
This project will run all year!!! Call your friends, get together, and let's warm babies in need! Please tell others about this project! Let's warm the babies this winter. Here are some ideas for places that might need what you make: Paediatrics wards, NICU's and maternity wards. You choose. Let's see if we can get someone from as many towns / countries as possible, involved! As you complete items feel free to Join Us on Facebook & write on the event wall. Let's start helping babies today! Please join in and be “counted”.
If you are craft challenged please consider donating items that cannot be handmade e.g. food, toiletries, toys e.g. trucks, cars, supplies for knitting, crocheting and sewing, etc.
Please help!
VALENTINE BABY ITEMS – The Valentine Project was a huge success and the moms, babies and staff appreciated our thoughtfulness.  They are delighted with our attempts at making our gifting special and exciting with different themes and by remembering special occasions.  Thank you to all who contributed, your support is much appreciated.
LADYSMITH PROVINCIAL HOSPITAL - EASTER EGGS, toys, scarves, beanies, etc. – Paediatrics - Sadly we have not received any Easter eggs, yet!!!  Thank you for your support!
ST PATRICK’S BABY ITEMS – Not many green items but we did receive generous donations from many people.  Special mention here to Knit a square who sent us 3 big bags full of hats, vests and blankets, thank you for your continued support.  35 baby packs gifted to moms and their babies on St Patrick's Day. The moms were delighted with their generous packs.  Thank you Retha and Barbara for the help!  Thank you to ALL for support!
LENTEN CHALLENGE – Several crafters have taken up the challenge and even non crafters have accepted the challenge and have donated items.  Thank you for your support!
IKHAYA LETHU ORPHANAGE AND CARE CENTRE – winter warmers for 3 months to 20 years – Thank you for your support!
 LADYSMITH PROVINCIAL HOSPITAL – winter warmers for preemie and newborn babies – Closing date – 5 May 2012.
 INTERNATIONAL KANGAROO CARE DAY - 15 May 2012.  Winter warmers for premature and newborn babies
 KINDLY NOTE: That we are going to phase out the various charities we have been working for to concentrate on working for the premature and newborn babies born at our hospitals.  The primary objective of this group was and is to assist destitute moms and babies born at our state hospitals.  To that end we need to concentrate all our efforts on that group of little and not so little people.
 CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE NEWSLETTER: Please will all members who are also part of other groups e.g. Doreen, family and friends; Barbara and the WA; Karin and Beacon Fellowship; Elna and friends; Pam and the sewing circle; and Carolyn and Busfare Babies, please submit photos and little reports about your work for The Ruth Mailbag Group to share in our newsletters.
 Any person who would like to make a contribution to the newsletter, please send me your items and I will include as many as possible.  Many members have personally shared with me what The Ruth Mailbag Group has meant to them e.g. given a purpose, a new hobby, a new interest and broadened horizons, made new friends...  Please put pen to paper (email will be good) and share!!!
 It will also be nice to hear from the hospitals that we support, please will the co-ordinators send us little snippets of news about The Ruth Mailbag Group at your hospital. 
 If you should find articles relevant to our group and the work that we do, please send them to me / the relevant links and I will include as many as possible in our newsletters.
 Thank you in anticipation!
 PASS THE BABY BOTTLE PROJECT: Set a baby bottle with The Ruth Mailbag Group logo attached on a kitchen counter, dresser, desk or any place where loose change may be collected. Drop your loose change in the bottles and encourage others to contribute as well.
 HOST A “BABY SHOWER”: Employee groups and other organizations often select a charity to assist. Suggest The Ruth Mailbag Group.
 ALWAYS NEEDED ITEMS: Newborn sleepers and gowns; Sweaters, jackets and buntings; Preemie gowns, onesies/babygros, outfits, and t-shirts; Receiving blankets; Baby toiletries; Bottles; Pacifiers; Diapers; Baby friendly yarn; Baby friendly fabric.
FREE SAMPLES/TRAVEL SIZE ITEMS: Each week our group gifts up to 40 newborn and premature babies at the state hospital.  In these baby packs we place basic items for the baby’s well being e.g. creams, lotions, clothing, and a little something for the mom, too, as the vast majority of the mothers who give birth to their babies at the state hospital are destitute.  The moms are most appreciative of the assistance we give them.  All gifts are given free of any charge and that is why we have to solicit donations to support our cause.  Please help us if at all possible.
MEETING HELD IN MARCH - Was a huge success, a slightly smaller group attended but still a very encouraging number of ladies.  Sorry to hear that Gerty had a bad fall and was resting at home, trust that she is well and up and about again.  Missing in action was Pam and Di, we do hope that it was nothing serious, we missed you!  The “show and tell” was much enjoyed by all and we had some parcels from abroad and out of town to share with the meeting.  Everybody was astounded at the support from outside our little town.
PACKAGES MAILED: I followed up on the packages I mailed to Port Shepstone and Itshelejuba (Pongola) Hospitals; Port Shepstone collected their package on the 20th February but I have had no response from them, Itshelejuba (Pongola) advised me on the 7th March that they were having the package collected and would respond on receipt of their package, they did contact me and were delighted with the donation.  Thanks Itshelejuba (Pongola) for the communication it is much appreciated.  More recently I have sent a box of caps to Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital at Nqutu.
Address for donations: PRIVATE BAG X 5503, NQUTHU 3135, South Africa
Name and telephone number of staff liaison person who will receive donations for distribution: Lillian M. Ntuli – 082 260 5700 Tel: 034 271 6462; Fax: 034 271 0169; Cell: 079 523 7970; E-mail
Needs: Preemie booties & hats in traditional pastels (pink, blue, green, yellow)
General: blankets for babies
When you send items to hospitals, please send us photos of your beautiful little items and in turn, if the hospitals can send us pictures of the gifting done at their hospitals we can share them on our facebook page for all to enjoy.  Thank you.
Kindly note that all Ruth Mailbag items are given free to infants, children and their parents!!!
Please mark all packages “FOR CHARITY – NO RETAIL VALUE”.  I recommend that you write or other staff member” after the name on the mailing.
GIFT TAGS: Raising awareness of our organization helps us to not only celebrate more volunteers but also let others know we can help them.  Please send me an email ( to request gift tags to use when donating.  Thank you for helping me to spread the word about the needs of young hospital patients and others in need.
HOSPITALS, PLEASE be sure to send address changes & corrections.
Happy crafting / shopping,
Joy – Founder - The Ruth Mailbag Group
Related links:

Sunday, 18 March 2012

International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day

International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day

Honour the 135 million babies who are born annually worldwide including the 13 million that are born prematurely.
May 15, 2012 is the first Annual International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day and this day we focus everyone’s attention to this life-saving and nurturing practice.
Whether you are a parent, a caregiver, a healthcare professional, or just a fan of Kangaroo Care, we invite you to help us spread the word around the world.

The importance of the first hour of life for a baby

Dr. Nils Bergman, from South Africa, is one of the leaders in Kangaroo Care.  His main focus of research is the first hour to 6 hours of the baby's life.

Watch this amazing video!

KMC has three parts:

Skin-to-skin contact between the baby's front and the mother's chest. The more skin-to-skin contact, the better. For comfort a small nappy is fine, and for warmth a cap may be used. Skin-to-skin contact should ideally start at birth, but is helpful at any time. It should ideally be continuous day and night, but even shorter periods are still helpful.

Exclusive breastfeeding means that for an average mother, direct suckling by the baby from the breasts is all that is needed. For very premature babies, expressing milk and addition of some essential nutrients may be needed.

Support to the dyad means that whatever is needed for the medical, emotional, psychological and physical well being of mother and baby is provided to them, without separating them. This might mean adding ultramodern equipment if available, or purely intense psychological support in contexts with no resources. It can even mean going home very early.

Kangaroo Mother Care:
Restoring the Original Paradigm for Infant Care and Breastfeeding

Lisa Albright
Austin TX USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 37 No. 5, October-November 2001, pp. 106-107.

Kangaroo Care: The Importance of a Mother's Touch

By Tracy B. McGinnis

Scaling up kangaroo mother care in South Africa: 'on-site' versus 'off-site' educational facilitation

Anne-Marie Bergh1,2*, Elise van Rooyen3,1 and Robert C Pattinson1,2

Special Project
International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day
We are collecting items for premature and tiny babies born at our local state hospital
Closing date - May 15, 2012
Please deliver / send to:
The Ruth Mailbag Group, “For charity – NO retail value”
C/o Foto First, 180 Murchison Street
Ladysmith 3370, South Africa
Thank you, in anticipation!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

World Wide Knit In Public Day is the largest knitter run event in the world.

World Wide Knit In Public Day is the largest knitter run event in the world.
Each local event is put together by a volunteer or a group of volunteers
The dates for 2012 is the 9th to the 17th of june - second saturday to the third sunday in...
If we hold this event in LADYSMITH KZN again this year will there be any interest/attendance and what date would best suit, recommending any Saturday at 11 o’clock between the 9th and the 17th ??? Look forward to hearing from you, soon.
Better living through stitching together.
Copyright © 2011 Astrid Salling Rasmussen all rights reserved.

Monday, 5 March 2012



Saturday, 3 March 2012

How you can help Ikhaya Lethu Orphanage & Care Centre

How you can help

there are many items you could donate to

Blankets & clothing for Ikhaya Lethu Orphanage & Care Centre

Closing date for this project – 7 April 2012

Wool/buttons/lace/ribbon/fabric & sewing cotton

Blankets/clothes/food/toys/toiletries for preemie & newborn babies

Blankets/clothes/food/toys/toiletries for children & adults

Pet jerseys/blankets/food – AACL shelter

New and good quality 2nd hand goods

All items donated are much appreciated


“For charity – NO retail value”



Then why not join us or send in your finished items

Please remember to add your name and address / email so I can let you know they have arrived...

Fax 086 516 4618