While 18 July has been declared as Nelson Mandela International Day by the United Nations (UN), South Africans choose to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life throughout July.
This provides more opportunities to heed the call of action and recognise our individual power. It gives everyone a chance to make an imprint and work towards positive change, no matter how small the act.
Nelson Mandela Month – Give more than 67 minutes
“A global movement for positive change begins with small actions. As each person acts, they fuel momentum toward positive change, raising awareness and expanding the reach of Mr Mandela’s values.”
Speaking at a Nelson Mandela Month event, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Mandela continues to inspire the world and urged others to commemorate his lifetime of service. He added:
“Rarely has one person in history done so much to stir people’s dreams and move them to action. […] Madiba’s legacy shows the way.”
Mr Mandela’s values were fighting injustice, helping people in need and practising reconciliation. There are several ways to follow in his footsteps and contribute to Mandela Month.
The focus this year is to eradicate poverty. You can join the Mandela Day Community and assist in encouraging collaborative partnerships to support education, literacy, sanitation and shelter for those in need.
The Nelson Mandela Day Foundation offers some encouragement: “By becoming someone who makes every day a Mandela Day by taking action against poverty, you can show others that actions speak louder than words.”
The ten goals in the Action Against Poverty Campaign for 2019 to 2029 are as follows:
- Goal 1 – Provision of quality education for all children
- Goal 2 – All children in Early Childhood Development (ECD) to have access to learning resources for development
- Reduce hunger in families throughout the provision of nutritious meals
- Eliminate malnutrition and stunting in young children
- Provide safe shelter for families to live and thrive in
- Eliminate homelessness
- Ensure sanitation that is safe in every school
- Enable access to safe sanitation to all communities
- Dedicate more resources to supporting poverty eradication projects
- Increase resources allocated to the provision of ECD in disadvantaged communities
What else you can do
You don’t have to start a Non-Profit Organisation in order to do your part, although that would be nice. There are many other ways you can reach out and offer help where it is needed.
Donate – your time, your skills, monetary funds or items. If you have an old computer or books donate it to a school. Toys and art supplies can be given to orphanages or dropped off at the children’s ward of your local hospital.
Reach out to organisations and ask how you can help? Shelters, local HIV organisations, hospices, and other establishments are always in need of a few helping hands.
In addition, you can also tutor children in a school subject you are good at, or impart life skills or practical skills.
Many terminally ill people have no friends or family who can visit them. Take a little time to have a chat and find out what they need.
“It’s easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.”