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, 21 December 2012

Patterns for Valentine

Valentine Baby

How you can help
there are many items you could donate to
Valentine baby
Closing date for this project – 1st Saturday in February
Wool/buttons/lace/ribbon/fabric & sewing cotton
Blankets/clothes/toys/toiletries for preemie & newborn babies
New and good quality 2nd hand good
Traditional Valentine colour is red!!!
All items donated are very 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





Please support the ladies of Glimmer of Hope as they try to assist the victims of the devastating hail storm…


“This is a humble request to your contacts for the hail disaster we had just over a week ago. There are some homes that have been totally wiped – meaning the ceiling collapsed on furniture, curtains, crockery, etc.


Our group of ladies (glimmer of hope) have taken it upon themselves to see who has been getting relief and who hasn’t. There are some that hasn’t received anything and some has received a little. Too little to see them through.  So the ladies are requesting help in the form of duvets, curtains, plastic stools, crockery, curtain rods, etc. Can we use your platform to showcase our appeal?


 The local ladies started out giving from their own pockets, and still are, as they are running a feeding scheme that’s feeding at least 100 people on a daily basis.  That’s what they started out with initially – feeding. When they were doing ground work they realised that more work and help is greatly needed.


Now they, together with scholars have started out with physical renovations – that which doesn’t need much professionalism. So they are doing:-

1) Painting – paint donations will greatly appreciated

2) Sewing and hanging of curtains (including buying curtain rods) we have Bassa’s to give it to us at cost.

3) Getting where we can, new kitchen cupboards

4) Crockery dinner sets, tumblers, coffee mugs

5) Linen (a great need) including duvets, sheets blankets.

6) Plastic stools. We’ve had some give us carpets

7) Donations in cash

8) Mattresses if not beds

The list seems never ending – but it was a great start.


The contact persons are:

Rehana Gaba 036 633 1308 / 082 583 0404

Nazeera Vawda 036 633 1886

Ayesha Badat 084 688 7786

Many thanks


Kind regards


Fathima Vawda (Retail) - Email



Sunday, 9 December 2012




THANK YOU – Sylvi Gough,UK; Gwen Draffan, Sheffield, England; Kathy Platts, Loughborough, England; Marion Short, Bedlington, UK; Staff & Customers, Woodhill Pharmacy, Glasgow, Schotland; Mrs P D Fernandes, Boksburg; Mrs E Smith,, Kingshurst, Birmingham, UK; Carol Bower & Knit and Knatter, Harworth, South Yorkshire, UK; Miss W Barnes & ladies at Huthwaite Methodist Church, Notts, England; Derlon Textile (Pty) Ltd; Lydia van Wyk; Colleen Raciborska, Pietermaritzburg; Ryhana Asmal; Ellie Weeber; Sally, Jilly & Jane, Hastings, England; Marian in Scotland; Jennifer M Brown, Chesterfield, UK; Adeline Turnbull, St Andrews, Scotland; Pat Hollman & Teresa Collins, Fife, Scotland; Ladysmith Presbyterian Women’s Fellowship; Mariette van Staden;  Shirley Brownlee, Norway; Sandra Staples & friends, East Sussex, UK; Helen Thorpe & Church knitting group, Cheshire, England; Karen Higley, UK; Veena Mootheeram; Isolde Henrich; Phyllis Botha, Sinoville; Judy Maccarone; Rosemary Earp-Jones; Retha Fountain; Di Watt; Frances Labuschagne; Meisie; Doreen, family & friends; Joan de Pindray; Gerty; Anonymous; Karin Strauss; Barbara de Wet; Looklocal Germiston; Snappi; Ladysmith Herald; Mum’s m@il; Looklocal Springs; Let’s Knit, UK and South Coast Herald!!!


For your overwhelming support...THANK YOU. For your prayers that carried us further than you can know...THANK YOU. For reaching out your hands to pull us through...THANK YOU.




IRENE USMAR: In response to your appeal for clothes for newborns at the FERH, I would like to donate some articles that we have no use for any longer. My granddaughter was born prematurely nine months ago (870grm!) and the wonderful staff at the prem unit in the FERH gave our darling such good care that she was able to come home after 2 and half months! All that time she was extremely well taken care of and in this small way, we want to reciprocate...  Have a stunning day.  Kind regards.


BIANCA BIRDSEY: Wow, thanks, Joy! This looks awesome! (On receiving the December flyer for Siyathemba.) Blessings, Bianca Birdsey, Mosvold Hospital, MBChB (UCT), 083 368 6080


THIS IS SHIRLEY CHECKING IN FROM NORWAY. After sending my last parcel and with Christmas approaching, I have slowed down a bit with my charity knitting. However, I try to make at least a couple of items a week. So..... I have not forgotten you all!  Best wishes!


RONDA – KNIT-A-SQUARE: I thank you SO much for blessing me with this beautiful newsletter (Siyathemba Update -  November/December) – I have just sent it to my beloved friend Oliver Quambusch of Hotel Hope Ministries in Melville, Johannesburg.

He has an interesting story … he was a wealthy executive in the Hotel industry overseas and Jesus called him through an Alpha course which he did in London 12 or 14 years ago – and that resulted in his coming to South Africa, volunteering in an orphanage in the South of Johannesburg and deciding to bring his savings here to spend every cent on buying the two houses which he has renovated for the purposes of setting up a place of safety, fostering and adoption. Now, after many years of red tape issues, he and his team have the most beautiful ministry to “mothers in crisis” – mostly teenage schoolgirls in Alexandra Township, and their babies. Hotel Hope also offers training to street people with a view to rehabilitating them and getting them back on the job market – it’s just wonderful, the work Oliver does.

I did their books for the first three years of their operation on a pro-bono basis, and they kindly invited me onto the board – but after a while Knit-a-Square grew to the point where I needed to focus on it alone. Oliver’s driver now collects all my post once a week – so we remain in close contact!

God is so awesome!!  Have a joyful day (excuse the pun!!!)  Ronda xxx


LOWER UMFOLOZI DISTRICT WAR MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Through the help of Joy Coetzee, local media and the Ruth Mailbag group, I’m receiving some donations for the newborns...  Thank you!!!  Ms N.H. Mvubu, Public Relations Officer, LUDWMH, Tel (Switchboard) 035 907 7000, Direct Tel: 035- 907 7156, Fax: 035- 792 2596,


MOWBRAY MATERNITY HOSPITAL: Thank you letter for donations received.




Sunday, 28 October 2012: 27 babies; moms loved the pumpkin hats!


Sunday, 04 November 2012: Gifted to 13 newborn and 16 premature babies; I also started the purple hat distribution.  Quiet ward, staff busy teaching moms how to bath their babies…  To all who contribute to these gifts a very big thank you.


Sunday, 11 November 2012: Gifted to 17 premature babies and 15 newborn babies (they also got a purple hat each).  A couple of the babies are waiting to be adopted, the staff thought I may not want to gift them, I assured them that I did and left sets with all of them.  I also gifted 24 sets to the Umbulwane crèche for the little ones.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012: Six bags and a box full of goods gifted to the children at Ikhaya Lethu, Colenso. Our thanks to Johnnie for taking them over for us and a BIG, BIG thank you to all who contributed items recently.


Thursday, 15 November 2012: Gifted to the triplets, Ms Nonkazimulo Ntuli, Esikhawini, vests and hats and to Anele, vests, hats, long-sleeved sweaters and toiletries.


Friday, 16 November 2012: Gifted to River of Life Church, vests and hats, for their outreaches.


Sunday, 18 November 2012: Gifted 16 newborn and 12 premature babies, all moms delighted but one in particular gave me the biggest broadest smile when I explained that it was a present for her baby and then waved when I left the ward…  those are the little things that make this cause worthwhile…  Bless you and thank you for contributing to these packs that we are able to give the moms each week, your support is always much appreciated!!!


Friday, 23 November 2012: Gifted to Ikhaya Lethu a big bag full of shirts for the children and long-sleeved sweaters for the babies.  Thanks to Retha and Johnnie for taking them over to Colenso for us.  Your support is much appreciated.


Saturday, 24 November 2012: Gifting to Lydia Jarman for the crèche she supports a bag full of vests & hats and long-sleeved sweaters for the babies.


Saturday, 01 December 2012: Gifting to Siyathemba (via Gail Rozendaal and Beacon Fellowship) long-sleeved sweaters, vests and hats and gifting to Ikhaya Lethu (via Retha and Johnnie), bag full of shoes and assorted clothing for the teenagers.  Thank you, to all who contributed and made it possible to gift these wonderful institutions and the babies and children they care for, your support is much appreciated.


Sunday, 02 December 2012: Gifted today packs and purple hats to 20 newborn babies and 17 premature babies… mommies all delighted with their packs and the staff friendly and grateful on behalf of their patients.  Pleasant visit, many of the moms were making good use of the cooler rainy weather and catching up on their sleep.

Monday, 10 December 2012: Gifting to the residents of the Juana Maria Frail Aged Home 42 gift bags containing basic toiletry items and a Christmas wreath key ring.



SATURDAY, 3 NOVEMBER 2012: Thank you for a wonderful meeting!!!  Nice to welcome new face, Ann Nel, to our group.  Great to have Gerty back among us, after a much too long absence.  Thank you, too, to Claudine who visited our meeting to photograph the ladies and to ask their help with a project they will soon be launching, information to follow, soon.  A BIG, BIG thank you to Erika Blok for the complimentary coffees, you made our day!!!  It was a most social afternoon much enjoyed by all.  The talk of the meeting was little bootees Di is creating to look like little mini soccer boots in Bafana colours, I’m sure the moms are going to love them!!!  Once again, thank you, for your support.


At the request of the Busy Bees our meetings returned to the Juana Maria Home with effect 1 December 2012 at 2 pm.  Thank you, Di, for having us back.


SATURDAY, 01 DECEMBER 2012:  Thank you for a stunning meeting, it was great to see some of the old faces back, again and a new face, Renate, welcome to our group, it was good to see you all.  The meeting was informative, the donations were generous and creative, and the members enjoyed the show and tell very much.  Thank you to the Juana Maria home for the tea and coffee it was much appreciated.  Thank you, Karin, for the little Father Christmases that you knitted for each of us, they are very special and much appreciated. The members went away with goody bags to keep them busy during the holidays.


KINDLY NOTE THAT THERE WILL BE NO MEETING IN JANUARY, this group will be in recess until the first Saturday in February 2013, but, the crafting never stops!!!




GENERAL NEEDS - Wool/buttons/lace/ribbon/fabric & sewing cotton

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

New and good quality 2nd hand goods


CHRISTMAS BABIES - Christmas Presents for premature & newborn babies and their moms

Traditional Christmas colours are red, green & white; Closing date for this project – 1 Dec. 2012.


NEW YEAR BABY - Closing date for this project – 21 December 2012.


VALENTINE BABY - Closing date for this project – 1st Saturday in February

Traditional Valentine colour is red!!!


ST PATRICK’S DAY BABY - Closing date for this project – 1st Saturday in March

Traditional colour is green!!!


APPEAL FOR LONGSLEEVED SWEATERS FOR THE BABIES - I know that we are just approaching our summer, but I would like to suggest that we start knitting sweaters for the babies that have long sleeves for the winter, by April the nights start cooling and it will become colder and colder from there on out.




Mowbray Maternity Hospital, Attention Sister Keren Stone, The Neonatal Team,  FOR CHARITY NO RETAIL VALUE, Private Bag X7, 12 Hornsey Road, Mowbray 7700. Email Tel +27 21 659 5544. Fax +086 519 6238.


Name of hospital: Far East Rand Hospital

Group Coordinator:  Rensche A. de Fortier on Tel 011 3662283 / 082 3444 393, P O Box 15184, River field 1564 or 4 Silica Lane, Dersley Park, Springs.  Email

Name of staff liaison persons: PRO, Hendrik Buda on 011 812 8419 or Fax: 011 817 3525 / 813 1411 or Email: and social worker, Jacobé Botha on 011 812 8330 or

Needs: Baby blankets, clothes from premature to 6 months, boys and girls, (new and gently used), toiletries e.g. soap, lotion etc and teddy bears

General: Clothes for paediatrics – babies and children to 12 years of age


Name of hospital: Dundee Hospital

Address: Postal: Private Bag X2011, Dundee, 3000; Street: 121 Mackenzie Street, Dundee

Name of staff liaison person: Mbali Ntshingila, Public Relations Officer

Telephone number of staff liaison person: 034 212 1111 x 237; Cell: 079 546 9438

Needs: Blankets and clothes from premature and newborn babies

General: Toiletries

Fax: 034 212 3245


Name of hospital: Port Shepstone Hospital

Address for donation: P/Bag x5706, Port Shepstone 4240. Cnr of Connor and Bazley Street, Port Shepstone
Name and telephone number of staff liaison person who will receive donations for distribution: Phumza Morai (PRO) Tel 039 688 6276; fax 039 682 6678; cell 083 3323 722

Needs: Vests, jerseys, booties, hats; General: Receiving blankets will be appreciated.





CONGRATULATIONS TO PAM CHADDERTON AND FAMILY (sewing circle) on the birth of little Evan on the 1st October.  So glad you could be with your daughter abroad during this happy arrival.


RENSCHE DE FORTIER (FERH, SPRINGS) has renamed her group on facebook, "KNIT & KNIT FOR PREMATURE. CANCER AND AIDS BABIES & NAPPY BAG PROJECT."  Description of her group: Soos van my vriendinne al weet doen ek "Charity" Genade werk nou al drie jaar. Ek het hierdie jaar meer gefokus op die Vigs, Kanker en Premature Babas. Ek het ook 'n groep gestig, KNIT & KNIT FOR AIDS, CANCER AND PREM BABIES… daar is 'n handjie vol, getroue dames/vriendinne wat regtig my regterhand is op daardie projek, hul breiwerk is van goeie gehalte, en dit is alles vir die projek waarmee ons besig is. Ek gaan nou 'n PREMATURE BABIES NAPPY BAG/ DOEKESAK projek bevoeg by die betrokke blad..... dit gaan bestaan uit...... truitjies, booties, beanie, borslappie, kombersie, asook 'n stelletjie kleertjies… baba toebehore nl. sepie, babapoeier, babaroom, indien daar iemand is wat se harte oop is en vir ons baba kleertjies kan skenk, vanaf PREMATURE, TOT EN MET 6MNDE sal ons dit baie waardeer, elke doekesak gaan persoonlik afgegee word saam met Hendrik Buda, woordvoerder van Verre oosrand Hosp. Mev. Jacobe Botha, maatskaplike werkster van Verre Oosrand Hospitaal… BAIE DANKIE, jul kan my kontak…  ek benodig baba kleertjies vanaf premature tot 6 maande seuns en dogters, asook baba benodighede, seep, badlotions, wat ons gaan saam plaas en teddies.


PAM CHADDERTON AND THE SEWING CIRCLE: Checking in, baby grows for prems started and fabric sourced, cut and now for the sewing. I am busy with the sample for the factory to follow and hopefully before shut down we should have quite a few.  The little dresses are almost finished, just the studs for closing to be done.  I have received three rolls of elastic and I have winter fabric to be made up into pants and tops/ or dresses.


GAIL ROZENDAAL AND BEACON FELLOWSHIP: Busy with blankets & hats for Siyathemba Project. We arranged all the donations received so far at the front of the Church - it made quite a display but very aware that it is just a drop in the bucket compared to the need.


YVONNE KIDD: It’s great to see all the gifts coming in to Foto First! People have been very generous, it is heart-warming to see how people who don’t have much themselves are willing to share what they have and bless our little bundles and thoughtful too. We have deliveries almost daily which is great. People have been very generous. Karin is extremely busy knitting little Father Christmases for December. They are fun to make but time is short!





We would ask you to take special notice of these instructions to avoid unnecessary duty being paid on your parcels as they arrive in South Africa.  Please mark clearly: No Commercial Value - For Charity Only.  Please do not register your letters, parcels, packages or boxes.  Please do not give a monetary value on your parcels (or only the minimum amount as instructed by your post office)

Please do use your good old post office unless you do not have one; it has come to our attention that the customs paid to couriers is higher.  We have to pay minimal duty on most large parcels arriving. However even just a small monetary value on a parcel attracts far higher duties. Letters, parcels, packages and boxes continue to arrive safely in volumes without any registration or monetary values appended to them.  MOISTURE FREE - Wrap your crocheted, knitted and sewn items in a plastic bag, bubble wrap or buy postal bags with an inner plastic coating to keep them moisture proof. Tape your parcels well.  POSTAL ADDRESS - Address all your post to: The Ruth Mailbag Group, “No Commercial Value - For Charity Only”, C/o Foto First, 180 Murchison Street, Ladysmith 3370, South Africa.  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT - Please add a note with your name, address or email address so that I may acknowledge your parcel.  Thank you for your support!


In closing, wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous New Year, also, expressing our thanks for your generous support in the past year.


Happy crafting / shopping,

Joy Coetzee – Founder: The Ruth Mailbag Group


Contact details: Fax 086 516 4618; Email



FREE LISTING – HOSPITALS WHO NEED BABY FRIENDLY ITEMS: Please complete tear strip below and return to or fax 086 516 4618 or mail to: The Ruth Mailbag Group, C/o Foto First, 180 Murchison Street, Ladysmith 3370.


Name of hospital:

Address for donations:



Name of staff liaison person who will receive donations and distribute:

Telephone number of staff liaison person: