Nine years ago, Romy Titus was sent to a prison to cover a hard news story. She left haunted by the sight of the babies born in prison, living with their mothers.
A fighter by nature, she initiated Babies Behind Bars, a non-profit organisation that provides mothers in prisons with essentials like clothing, food, educational toys, nappies and infant formula.
Babies Behind Bars currently assists 800 infants and toddlers living in prisons across South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Swaziland and Namibia. Titus’s aim is to be in every prison on the continent.
Babies Behind Bars relies on donations from the public; but not everyone wants to help convicted criminals, so it’s not uncommon for Titus, who is an accomplished journalist, to donate her emceeing fees to the organization.
At the age of 20, she was the country’s youngest news anchor, but these days the 35-year-old focuses on sport, reporting soccer for SABC TV and anchoring Radio 2000’s Game On.
But Babies Behind Bars is the reason she wakes up each morning. “These children didn’t ask to be there; and if I can make those two years of their lives as happy as possible, giving them hope of a brighter future, then I am living my purpose.”
Find Titus on Twitter: @romytitus