Reports of abandoned babies and teenage girls pregnant out of wedlock seem to have no end. According to statistics derived from 2010 till 2018, as many as 697 cases of abandoned babies occurred nationwide, with many of these children found too late to be saved.
Baitus Solehah is a halfway home that provides a much-needed refuge for pregnant teenage girls who have been mistreated, harassed, assaulted or abandoned. The facility protects the welfare of these girls and is managed by founder Monaliza Binti Ismail with the help of her family. Here, the girls are provided with counselling and spiritual knowledge to empower them to self-manage and live responsibly.
“It came across to me that someone needs to help these young girls. It’s sad, they need a chance to complete their education and to learn how to be mothers. If they have failed once, it does not mean they should fail again. It started out with one girl and from there, one by one came to me for help. After helping a few, I decided that the best way to make a change is to set up a proper facility,” said Mak Liza.
Baitus Solehah was officially formed in 2013. Since then, Mak Liza and her family have been providing help to many girls in terms of education, transportation, antenatal and postnatal support as well as providing a safe haven for them to recover and rediscover. The girls are encouraged to support and care for each other during pregnancy and after childbirth, with many only leaving once they are truly ready and can live independently. The home is also careful to ensure that these young mothers and their newborns obtain all proper government-issued documentation.
“I’ve helped many over the years, from 14 to 40-year-old women. It’s not just teens who make these mistakes. We should not discriminate. The past is over and what needs to be done is to learn and improve in order to have a better life,” said Mak Liza.
Baitus Solehah currently operates from four different facilities with help from the police for security. Mak Liza does not charge any money for the work she does and treats all the girls like family. She hopes that in the future more would follow the path of redemption and seek help as opposed to doing the unthinkable.