Behind Open Arms
Youandi (33) is the founder of Open Arms. Born in the Netherlands she gave up her Western life for a life in South Africa.
Since 2010 she lives and works with abused, abandoned and HIV infected babies and children.
About Open Arms
Open arms is a project of the crisis home Isiaiah 54 Children's Sanctuary.
Her heart for the less fortunate is big and she would do whatever she can to help.
Would you like to know more about Youandi and how Open Arms started please click here.
I am Youandi (32) but most people call me Jo. I am born in the Netherlands.
I haven't had a easy life but it made me who I am today. I have been abused (emotional, physical and sexual) the child welfare in the Netherlands failed, the police failed and my school failed.If I only had a person like myself that time, it would have been so much easier.
South Africa is now my home and has been since 2010. I work and live with abused, abandoned and HIV infected babies and children in Durban.
Beside it can be very hectic at times I love my life, waking up every morning to see those wonderful faces smiling at me, is the most beautiful gift I can get.
But beside the children I also worry and care a lot about the mother behind the abandoned baby/child.
The numbers of abandoned babies/children in South Africa is very high. And for outsiders very easy to judge the mother and say that she horrible, evil, unhuman etc.
You must be very desperate to be able to do that. I think the feeling must be similar to committing suicide.
Instead of judging the mother I rather be the person that they contact when they need help/advice.
So Open Arms was born...