South Africa: Pregnant women drinking alcohol to induce FAS to collect money

Link here. Excerpt:

'Pregnant South African women are deliberately drinking large quantities of alcohol to harm their unborn babies in a bid to earn more welfare money.
"If I don't drink this, I'm like someone who is sick," one mother told Sky News.

"I can't sleep and I can't think straight but when I have this then I am better and I can do anything."

The addictive milky brown brew is made from yeast, water and battery acid and is sold in illegal drinking houses called 'shebeens'.
The World Health Organisation reports there has been a spike in the area of children born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) since 2002.

The irreversible symptoms mean children suffer from speech problems, physical deformities, learning difficulties and behavioural issues.

Families receive 250 South African rand ($28) per child, per month but a disabled child brings in 1200 rand a month ($134) – a "lucrative" income.'


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Holy God.

I can only think that the level of desperation combined with meanness of their existences has led to this living Hell.

This story is far less about busting the myth that women are *categorically* selfless nurturers, etc. (the usual line), but more about how incredibly desperately poor some people are and the extreme measures they'll take to try to do better. There are other ways, however. But I don't pretend to know the particulars of life these days for S. Africa's poorest people-- though I have heard some very bad things about their situation.

Regardless... a society wherein mothers for whatever reason are doing things like this is doomed. I hope they can find some way to pull up out of this free-fall. It's just utterly mind-boggling, and so very sad.