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, 29 November 2013

UPDATE: Newcastle Provincial Hospital

NEWCASTLE PROVINCIAL HOSPITAL (There are problems with postal deliveries; I recommend hand deliveries only, please.)
Address for donations:  4 Hospital Street, Newcastle, 2940
Name of staff liaison person: Sister Marlene Lubbe (Operational Manager-Nicu)
Telephone: 0343280003
Fax: 03431 23891
Email: (this email address will change, Mrs Buthelezi is retiring)
Needs: very low birth weight hats and booties

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

NEEDS: Steve Biko Academic Hospital:

NEEDS: Steve Biko Academic Hospital:

Baby clothes and blankets for premature and new born.

Monday, 25 November 2013

NEEDS: Siyathemba:

NEEDS: Siyathemba:

Blankets, clothes and soft toys for newborn babies.

If you are in the Durban area, please consider helping Nontobeko Ndlela

If you are in the Durban area, please consider helping Nontobeko Ndlela at

King Edward VIII Hospital
Address for donations:
     Postal: Private Bag X02
     Street: Corner Rick Turner and Sydney Road, CONGELLA 4013
Name of staff liaison person: Nontobeko Ndlela
Telephone number of staff liaison person: 031 360 3021
Fax: 031 206 1457
Needs: Newborns and toddlers clothing, blankets, etc.
Please read Nontobeko Ndlela's message below which is self explanatory.

Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM, Ndlela Nontobeko <> wrote:
If you happen to have people who can donate clothes for Christmas and New Year’s baby; not necessarily knitted or crochet clothes.  This is because we normally get more mothers/babies who qualify to be Christmas babies but only to find that we have one hamper.  If it is not possible, we will still appreciate what they can sponsor our new mothers.
Thank you kindly.
Nontobeko Ndlela

Sunday, 24 November 2013




Please forward this newsletter to your online family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances! They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness and I will too! Thank you.


Then why not join us or send in your finished items
There are many items you could donate to
Blankets/clothes/toys/toiletries for preemie & new born babies
New, handmade and good quality 2nd hand goods
All items donated are much appreciated
“For charity – NO retail value”
Please remember to add your email so I can let you know they have arrived

THANK YOU: African Reporter; Aunt Edna; Carol Bower & friends, UK; Colleen Raciborska & Mabel, Pietermaritzburg; Doreen Brits & sister Esther; Erin Smith, Mooi River; Frances Labuschagne; Germiston City News; Jill Clark, England; Lyn Geekie; Meisie Foster; Mrs C Goddard, UK; Pat Bennetts, Umkomaas; Renate Dunham; Retha Fountain and Springs Advertiser.


If you do not see your name above and know that you have sent us a package, please, do not despair.  This is a very busy time of the year for me and it is probably in the spare room waiting to be opened and will appear in the next newsletter.  I apologise for any inconvenience caused.  Bless you and thank you for understanding!


Knitting for charity is a wonderful thing. Not only does it allow you to knit more than you'd ever want to for your friends and family, you also get the good feeling that comes with helping other people.  Bless you and thank you for your generosity.


It has been brought to my attention that some members and friends do not have full access to the internet and I have been asked to remember them when preparing the newsletter as they cannot access the links I share, this means that you are in for a lengthy document and I ask you to please exercise patience and consideration as it is important for every member and friend of this group to know what the group is doing or not doing.  Thank you!!!


POSTERS:  Please be advised that I will not be making individual posters for each hospital on our listing anymore; I will continue to list the hospitals on our blog, facebook, forums, groups, and twitter so that you can get as much exposure as possible.  Please send me any updated information so that these listings can be kept current.  If you tackle a special project please send me the information and I will share it as far as possible.  Thank you in advance for your co-operation.


On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 11:36 AM, Snoeks Desmond <> wrote:
I live very near King Dinuzulu Hospital and would be happy to help with receiving gifts (if you need a place where people can drop things off instead of posting them) and then helping by taking them to the hospital.
I live in a block of flats where access is controlled so people will have to contact me before arriving with gifts.
Address: 3 Achadhu, 337 Montpelier Road, Durban 4001
Phone: 031-2076503 / 0837835117
I have a number of friends who knit and we have been giving things to St Apollinaris Hospital near Creighton and a group for children with disabilities in Creighton. But we’re happy to give to other places and if it turns out that King Dinuzulu is a good and welcoming place I’m happy to be the Durban link person.
It’s my birthday soon and instead of presents (much as I LOVE getting presents!) I’ve asked people to bring wool for me to knit up. I’ve asked for bright colours so who knows what I’ll get…… 
I matriculated from Ladysmith High in 1963 so I know the town, or at least how the town used to be in those far off days! 
 I look forward to whatever arrives on my doorstep, Snoeks Desmond

((( Bless you and thank you!!!  What a lovely idea, some of our “mature” members have taken to doing this, too.  They have even requested a baby shower instead of a birthday party and then donate the items to the babies…  Wonder if any of the Ladysmith members may remember you???  If so, please drop Snoeks a line, I am sure she will be delighted to hear from you… )))


Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 10:28 AM - <> wrote: 40 Beanies & 40 pairs of Booties sent to King Edward.  Regards, Lenie.  (((Well done! Keep up the good work.)))




Bertha Gxowa Hospital: Kangaroo “Abbas”, vests, jerseys, booties, hats (preemies and full term newborns) and receiving blankets.

Busfare Babies Birth Centre: preterm and term baby clothes, hats, booties, blankets, nappies, sanitary pads, and cotton baby blankets.

Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital: Preemie booties & hats in traditional pastels (pink, blue, green, yellow) and blankets for babies.

Dundee Hospital: Newborn baby clothes.

Edendale Hospital: Baby clothes and blankets.

Far East Rand Hospital: Clothes for premature & newborn babies, blankets, toys and toiletries; clothes, blankets and toiletries for children to 12 years old.

Greytown Hospital: Jerseys, vests, booties, hats, and blankets for babies.

Itshelejuba Hospital: Normally monthly we have about 30 premature babies being born in this institution.

King Dinuzulu Hospital Complex (previously King George V Hospital): Baby receiving blankets, rompers, vests, nappies, socks, hats, baby wipes, towels and face cloths.

King Edward VIII Hospital: Newborns and toddlers clothing, blankets, etc.

Ladysmith Provincial Hospital / The Ruth Mailbag Group: Preterm and full term baby clothes, blankets, nappies, soft toys and toiletries.  Boarder / lodger moms need toiletries, facecloths and bed socks.

Lower Umfolozi District War Memorial Hospital (LUDWMH): Sanitary pads for moms, receiving blankets, socks, vests, hats, baby rompers, jersey for the new born.  This is a maternity hospital and we have all sizes and types of newborns including pre-mature babies.

Manguzi Hospital: Preemie booties; hats assorted; vests assorted; jerseys; baby nappies; small bags of toiletries; soft toys; baby blankets; baby baths; baby bedpan; rompers; bibs; feeding cups and baby carrier bags.

Montebello Hospital: Term + preterm baby clothes, hats, booties and baby blankets.

Mosvold Hospital: We need anything; we are in a rural community, poverty stricken with a high rate of unemployment; whatever donation will be very much appreciated.

Mowbray Maternity Hospital: Premature and newborn babies – clothes and blankets.

Newcastle Provincial Hospital: Very low birth weight hats and booties.

Port Shepstone Hospital: Vests, jerseys, booties, hats and receiving blankets will be appreciated.

R. K. Khan Hospital: An average of +/- 20 per month premature babies. Our other deliveries are around 600 per month.

Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital: Baby clothes and blankets.

Siyathemba: Blankets, clothes and soft toys for newborn babies.

Steve Biko Academic Hospital: Baby clothes and blankets for premature and new born.





Please plan your projects around the following days.  We shall continue to concentrate on items for the babies (premature and newborn).  Donate items such as baby clothing, new or gently used and handcrafted baby items, supplies for crocheting and knitting, like skeins of yarn, etc.


December for 1 January                 – New Year’s Day

January for 14 February                 – Valentine’s Day

February for 17 March                   – St Patrick’s Day

March for 20 April                           – Easter Sunday

April for 15 May                               – International Kangaroo Care Day

May for 9 June                                 – World Wide Knit in Public Day

June for 18 July                                – Nelson Mandela Day

July for 9 August                              – National Women’s Day (Emphasis on Boarder Moms and their babies)

August for 12 September               – International Crochet Day

September for November              – Click for Babies / Purple hat project (Awareness of Shaken baby syndrome and Period of Purple Crying)

October for 17 November             World Prematurity Day

November for 25 December         – Christmas Day


Please address all your post to:  The Ruth Mailbag Group, “No Commercial Value - For Charity Only”, C/o Foto First, 180 Murchison Street, Ladysmith 3370, RSA, (PLEASE USE YOUR GOOD OLD POST OFFICE!!!)


MEETING: Saturday, 2 November 2013: Thank you for a lovely meeting.
Sorry there were so many absentees, those who are ill, please, get well soon and to all, we missed you!
We did an update sharing information about the November and December projects and the end of year function. Everybody is very happy with the plans ahead.
The show and tell was appreciated by all again and a very, very big thank you to all you wonderful ladies for your beautiful, creative and generous donations for the babies.
There was yarn a plenty and all were reminded to take enough home to see them through the next three months.
Once again, a very big thank you, for your support of our cause, your support is much appreciated.
Thank you, Juana Maria Home, for providing us with a wonderful venue and tea/coffee, your continued support is much appreciated.  We will be back on the 1st Saturday in February 2014.


SEWING CIRCLE: Unfortunately our sewing circle will close today, I regret having to do this but without the hands to do the sewing it is pointless. If you should be interested in reviving this little sub group, please contact me and we can talk about it. I will also no longer receive donations of sewing cotton or fabric. Thank you for understanding!




Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 10:10 AM - sarah <> wrote: Met Amor vir Prem babas gaan dit baie goed. Ek moet egter se my hart is seer om weg te gaan maar ek glo dat die projek aan sal gaan. More sien ek Lanie sy het geskakel sy was saam in vergadering met die dokters in beheer van kinder afdeling en sy se daar is groot ontwikkelinge
Ek het nie ʼn idee wat dit is nie want in Steve Biko moet jy onder Hospisvion werk om enige toegang daar te verkry
Ek weet nie hoe dit in ander hospitale werk nie maar dit kan nogal ʼn probleem wees as jy nie hulle reëls nakom nie. Gelukkig ken Lanie almal daar en ook die dokter in beheer so dit maak ons werk soveel makliker.  Baie liefde, Sarie


Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 10:29 AM - Snoeks Desmond <> wrote: Beanies and blankets for babies - Snoeks Desmond and friends started the Beanies and Blankets for Babies group last week. So far we have:
*put up posters in three wool shops in Durban asking for donations of wool (poster designed by Jenny Aitchison attached)
* arranged to meet with knitters from Nazareth House once a month for a social and knitting time
*visited Thami Chizama, PRO at King Dinuzulu Hospital (formerly King George) to introduce ourselves and find out level of need, ways of distributing gifts etc. As there is also a clinic and a long stay ward for children with TB, we might extend to making beanies etc for children up to 6 or 8 years of age
* recruited members from Joburg and advertised need for wool or items at a local school
* knitted and knitted and knitted in the hope of building up a huge pile of stuff to take to the hospital very soon.


On Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 2:41 PM, Doreen Brits <> wrote: It was an enjoyable crafting year, having a theme most of the months made knitting/crocheting interesting. Most was done for the Premature/New born babies and sometimes a gift for a Mother. It is a blessing to be able to do something you enjoy and knowing how much it is needed and appreciated. What a wonderful charity to work for!  Blessings to all, Doreen


Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 2:22 PM, Ndlela Nontobeko <> wrote: We and our patients are ever grateful for the knitted items donated by a number of women in Durban surrounding, may our God richly bless them.  Regards, Nontobeko


Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 2:46 PM, Dlamini Thulisiwe <> wrote: Thank you so much for all your time, dedication and love that you have shown to us. To be part of you has helped us a lot; I have received a number of parcels from Susi, from UK.
These clothes have been distributed to different children who were picked up at our unit as needy as well as those who are referred to the institution for assistance from the community.
May God bless those who have received light, wisdom and love of knowing the importance of caring for other human beings.
As I am communicating with Susie, I am waiting for teddy bear and Christmas decoration items for the children.
We are looking forward for the exciting day for the children who has never had Christmas gift to have a teddy bear, it may looks small but the act is very big and noticed.
Thank you so much, may God bless you all who donate to this project.  Thuli


On Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 6:23 PM, Wendy Walker <> wrote: So far 8 ladies from Margate Bowling Club have sewn/knitted/crocheted 170 items for the babies and small children of Port Shepstone Provincial Hospital, Donations are always warmly received by the Matrons and PRO Phumza Morai. We pledge to continue making clothes & blankets for these babies in need.


Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 8:05 PM - <> wrote: I have formed a warm friendship with Sr Dlamini (Thuli) which is really great and came about because of all the time and support you gave me. I have been able to continue sending out baby and toddler clothes to her. By sheer luck Sr Virginie from Imelda convent is a colleague and picked up some boxes once and when she emailed to say she had received them I realised it was her who I had so desperately tried to get the first lot of boxes too - Divine intervention!! I was able to send out some toys, Christmas decorations, clothes, chocolate and tops for the mothers too to help at Christmas time - and all because of the support from family and friends with donations in the form of stamps, cash, clothing, toys and friendships. I am going to continue sending my son Wilfy's outgrown things across her for as long as I can raise the postage costs.  Susi




STEVE BIKO ACADEMIC HOSPITAL: Please join me in helping to send every baby born at Steve Biko Academic Hospital home in something warm and cosy.  Steve Biko Academic Hospital is located in Pretoria.   Most of the families who have babies there have nothing to bring their babies home in. That’s where we come in. My group, “Amor for prem, Aids and Cancer baby's” (affiliated to The Ruth Mailbag Group), provides warm, handmade, bought or good quality gently used items for these families.
Please send donations to me at “Amor for prem, Aids and Cancer baby's” (affiliated to The Ruth Mailbag Group), Lanie Meyer, P O Box 35860, Annlinn 0066, RSA.  Email  CAN YOU KNIT, CROCHET OR SEW?  Then why not join us, Lanie and Marthie, at facebook group!/groups/236101209863890/ or send in your finished items.  Please remember to add your email so we can let you know they have arrived... THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR KINDNESS!



It has been a while since we have given an update on what God is doing. The reason is that we have gone through a very difficult personal time in the last 2 months.

As you may know we were planning to and have now left Ingwavuma and have been living in Durban since the beginning of September.  We left Siyathemba Ingwavuma in very capable hands and prior leaving we had a hand over tea.  We were very encouraged to see the passion with which our friends were willing to continue what God had started there. We constantly get messages from both our co workers and mothers in Ingwavuma giving us updates on their lives and new encounters with patients wanting abortions. Today I received a message to tell me how two nurses and one of the doctors went to go visit the home of a pregnant lady who has been having social problems with her family. The family has accepted her and her pregnancy and is now willing to allow her to stay with them. It is a joy to see God continue his work although we are no longer there.

On a personal front, it has been a rocky few months...  However, one thing that has been a constant is God sending us patches of grace, mostly through rather miraculous interpersonal encounters at times when we have felt that we have very little left to continue.  Almost everything else in our lives has therefore taken a ‘back seat’ as we try and plot a way forward for our family.

That said God, it seems, doesn’t wait until we say, “We are ready now God, you can do what you want now.” Siyathemba Durban has very much started. The enormity of the task in Durban is way beyond what we have ever encountered. On a daily basis at least 10 patients arrive at the RK Khan (where I work) GOPD requesting abortions. They are sent through a very quick and well run ‘production’ line and are sent off with a letter to the local abortion clinic. There has been very little chance for me to get involved with this because the department is extremely busy and there are significant time demands elsewhere. We are trusting God to direct us in deciding whether we need to employ a full time counsellor who we could volunteer to see these patients and we are also trusting for the strategy to integrate this into the hospital setting.

At the beginning of September we dealt with our most difficult case. The mom, a mentally disabled lady, who was in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend (and has had two other children taken from her because of her condition and now has no one willing to take another child), was adamant that she wanted the abortion. Eventually through much prayer and counselling we felt that we had succeeded in negotiating a difficult situation and that she would keep the baby. A few days later she arrived in the ward having taken an overdose of medication in an attempt to get rid of the pregnancy.  Ultimately I felt that this was her choice and her life to live and killing herself would be no victory on God’s part.

Working in a hospital like RK Khan also exposes one to different situations that allow ample chance for God’s love to work. On a ward round one morning I had just counselled another lady who was getting a blood transfusion prior to getting a letter for her abortion (God worked in her heart and she decided to choose life) when I came across another patient who was also getting a blood transfusion for cancer of the cervix. Her cancer was advanced and when I asked how she was doing she gave an answer relating to her pain. I pushed her for a deeper answer and she broke down telling me how scared and lonely she was. At 35 years she had lost her husband a few years previously, had 2 children who stayed with her in laws (who she didn’t trust) and was now on a pre terminal fight with cancer. She was scared of death, she was scared of what lay ahead for her children and no one had ever chatted to her about her fears. I felt great privilege to be able to chat to her about her pain and fears and was also so grateful to get some personal perspective.

We were also so excited to re united with Mbali and her beautiful daughter Bianca. Bianca is exactly one day older than our 2 older girls and Mbali was the first mother we counselled and formed a personal relationship with when we were still interns at RK Khan Hospital. It was amazing to spend the day with them and see this beautiful happy child and happy mom that is filled with joy each time she looks at her daughter. Life has not been easy for them though. Mbali had to drop out of a career in engineering to look after Bianca and made ends meet with the odd waitering job. She is currently hoping to go back to study teaching as it will allow her to look after her daughter more easily.   

We want to thank you all again for your generosity and prayers. Please pray that God will lead us to decide whether we should employ someone and who we should employ to help us counsel mothers seeking abortions.  Love the Birdseys


Contact person in Ladysmith KZN: Gail Rozendaal, Tel +27 36 638 4087; Fax +27 36 638 4103; Email

(((Thank you, Gail, for sharing this newsletter with us.)))


CHRISTMAS MESSAGES: 11 November 2013 in an SMS Karin Strauss wrote: As you heard from Yvonne we are unable to be at lunch, she is getting married on the 7th and we can’t join you but I would like to wish all a good time, please, give all the ladies my best for the holidays and to you thank you for all that you do.  Happy Christmas, Love, Karin.  (((Please drop Karin holiday wishes care of Yvonne and send wedding messages to Yvonne at  Thank you.)))


KNITTING GROUP IN ELGIN / GRABOUW AREA: Please help! We have a member leaving town to live in Elgin near Grabouw in the Cape and she would like to join a charity knitting group there to continue knitting for babies, if you know of such a group in that area, please, let me know so that I can pass the information on to her. Thanking you in anticipation!


PREMATURE BABY CLOTHES: I have observed that there are more and more premature babies being born here and this means that we need more premature baby clothes, please. Just the basics will be a great help i.e. hats, jackets and bootees to fit 1.6 kg, please. Thanking you in anticipation.


WORLD PREMATUIRTY DAY: I trust you enjoyed the build up to World Prematurity Day with me. I so appreciated the various ways that this day was celebrated and premature babies honoured worldwide. I was however very sad to see that apparently our own country did not join the world community on this subject and we do have so many premature babies born each year. Hats off to Accra, Ghana who lit up for the occasion, it was wonderful to see our continent represented on the world stage. And I think we need to pat ourselves on the back for the small effort we made to spread awareness even in our own small community called The Ruth Mailbag Group. Comments welcome!!!  ((( Pics can be found on our facebook page. )))




Sunday, 10 November 2013: Gifted to 31 babies today; Moms delighted and staff very amused at our casual chatter with the moms. Thank you, Barbara and Ronel, for your help. Ronel, thank you, for bringing your friends Wendy and Linda along to meet with us and get a small “taste” of the work we do in the community. Sadly it was our friend, Ronel’s last gifting with us as she leaves to go abroad, soon. Ronel, thank you, for your help and support over the years, it did not go unnoticed and we will miss you.  Good luck in your new home, we hope your home will always be a place where you will find pleasure and contentment of a very special kind.  This comes with very special wishes, from your friends at the Ruth Mailbag Group.  (((  Pics can be found at: )))

Ronel wrote: I have enjoyed being a part of the Ruth Mailbag Family and will continue to cheer you on ... never doubt the impact made by the good work that you all do ... at the heart of what matters most in this world ... the cradle. Fond love, Ronel. your support and help over the years, it never went unnoticed and we are going to miss you! Good luck in your new home, we hope your home will always be a place where you will find pleasure and contentment of a very special kind. This comes with very special wishes, from your friends at The Ruth Mailbag Group.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013: Gifted assorted clothing to Siyathemba via Gail Rozendaal who will be visiting Siyathemba next month. To all whom in anyway contributed to this gifting, a very BIG thank you, for your generosity, without your support we would not be able to help the babies, children and moms as often as we do. Bless you and thank you!!!


Sunday, 17 November 2013: Gifted 20 preemie and 13 new born babies. The preemie moms were in awe of the delightful little preemie sets and asked that I specially thank the people responsible for the very, very beautiful preemie sets; they will be proud to take their babies home in them. To all who in any way contributed to the gifting today thank you for your generosity and caring, your support of our cause is much appreciated. The gift tags today were specially worded to mark World Prematurity Day and I explained to some of the moms what it was all about, they were delighted. Once again thank you for making these gifts possible.


Thursday, 21 November 2013: Christmas hats & vests for the babies!!! We have enough hats & vests in stock to provide Br Beharie with hats & vests for gifting to all newborn babies during the Christmas period. Dr Beharie wrote: Yes absolutely. We can give them to staff in the Nursery as well as the Postnatal Ward to distribute to the newborns. We deliver about 500 babies a month with about 70 of them requiring admission to Nursery. Any amount you have within this figure will be fine. Thank you for your kindness. ((( Thank you to all those wonderful folk who knit or crochet hats or vests or both for the babies, your generosity and kindness has made this gifting possible. Bless you and thank you. )))


Sunday, 24 November 2013:  Gifted today 15 premature babies and 13 new born babies. Thank you, Frances, Wendy Hsiao and friends for your assistance, it was a most pleasant visit with the moms and babies and the staff was very helpful and friendly. To all whom in any way contributed to the gifts today a very, very BIG thank you, for your support, without you, these packs would not be possible and they are much appreciated by all, especially the moms and babies.


NEW GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER!!!  Congratulations to Carol Bower, UK, on the birth of a new great-granddaughter, she is called Maisy and was born on the 8th October. ((( May your new great-grandchild provide you with love, smiles, hugs, and much entertainment. From all your friends at The Ruth Mailbag Group. )))


Thank you in advance for your support!


Yours in charity crafting,

Joy Coetzee

Founder - The Ruth Mailbag Group


CONTACT DETAILS: Fax 086 516 4618; Email


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