Nelson Mandela Foundation issues guide for Mandela Day

If you’re scratching your head for ideas for Mandela Day, don’t panic – the Nelson Mandela Foundation has issued a guide to help you.

The Mandela Day Guide seeks to help people celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day (known as Mandela Day) on July 18.

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The United Nations proclaimed the day in November 2009 as a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world.

Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang said the manual is intended to help people who don’t really know how they could contribute.

“The foundation felt it would be useful to issue the guide for the first time this year, especially as we have changed the way in which Mandela Day is observed.”

Here are some suggestions from the Mandela Day Manual:

– Put together stationery packs (pens, stickers, coloured paper, scissors, etc.) for teachers at an under-resourced school.

– Sort donated clothes at a U-turn or a warehouse. (Phone ahead to organise!)

– Volunteer your time at a Haven Night Shelter.

– Donate blood.

– Find your nearest fixed donor site. Offer to fix things at a local school or organisation (paint, broken windows, etc).

– Help build a home with Habitat for Humanity‘s International Mandela Day Build Week.

– Donate educational materials to Breadline Africa.

– Organise a fun outing for children in an HIV/Aids programme.

– Make care kits (including a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, face cloth, etc) for patients at a nearby government hospital.

– Throw a tea party for the children and carers at a children’s home.

– Offer to mow the lawn and fix up the garden at a nursing home or hospice.

– Hold a teddy bear or book drive for a children’s home.

– Teach someone how to use a computer and the Internet.

– Tutor someone who needs help learning your mother tongue.

– Donate your old computer to an under-resourced school.

– Tutor learners from under-resourced schools.

– Donate books to your local library.

– Offer to attend a high school class to talk to students about your career.

Hatang said the foundation had decided against the usual four themes for Mandela Day in favour of just one: taking action against poverty.

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“In line with this strategic shift, we therefore call on people to use July 18 to renew their commitment to taking action and to inspire change so that they can make every day a Mandela Day,” said Hatang.

“We call on them to volunteer for projects that will alleviate poverty, whether that be building a house for someone who has never had a home or planting a food garden at a school to feed learners.”

Hatang said while the foundation was grateful for everyone who had volunteered 67 minutes of their time in the past, “it became increasingly troubling for us that the Mandela Day campaign serves as momentary relief for recipients”.

He said the foundation had therefore determined to “look at new and more meaningful ways to express the acts of kindness in our communities” and had decided that tackling poverty – which was hamstringing South Africa’s and many other countries’ development – was critical.

“The deepening effects of poverty and inequality in our country serve as a deafening call for us to open our hearts in a more meaningful manner,” said Hatang.

“That’s why this July 18 and until Mandela Day 2018, our call is for the global community to take #ActionAgainstPoverty.”

Yase Godlo, Mandela Day manager at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said the guide demonstrated that those who observe Mandela Day did not need to make great changes to fit with the new approach to Mandela Day.

Godlo said people could still knit blankets, but instead of knitting it as a once-off, they would be encouraged to knit blankets year-round for those in need.

Those who plant vegetable gardens at schools could still do so on July 18, but were also urged to commit to planting more gardens.

“We want people to commit to longer-term more sustainable efforts, but did not want to make it more difficult or confusing, which is why we have issued the manual,” says Godlo.

ALSO READ: Mandela day treat for children

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