Inspired by an iconic symbol for peace, forgiveness and unity, Nelson Mandela Day kicked off yesterday on 18 July to celebrate Madiba’s 94th birthday. One of the many ways offered to pay homage to this special day was to donate 67 minutes to helping others. But despite the amazing sentiments behind this initiative, this is not really what Mandela Day is all about.
The former South African leader made history during the Apartheid Era, where he spent 27 years behind bars. When the country gained its independence in 1996, Mandela led the change into the Rainbow Nation that it is today. His vision was (and always will be) simple – every person on this planet can make a difference, no matter how big or small, whatever their colour, background or story.
In that spirit, celebrating the struggle and sacrifice that Mandela made for peace shouldn’t just be something you slot into your schedule – it should be something that you do to play your part in making Madiba’s dreams of a better world come true.
How You Can Make Every Day a Mandela Day
If you missed your chance to give back 67 minutes yesterday, don’t stress. We have put together a list of ideas that can be done any day of the year, at any time that suits you best. You don’t have to spend a fortune or donate your life to saving the world – you simply need to choose a way to reach out to others and make a difference in your community.
Not sure how to get started? Here are some ways that you can volunteer in Cape Town or make that change. Simply choose a cause from our suggestions below to decide how you want to help.
- The Homestead Project for Street Children – this group has a number of intake shelters and permanent shelters across the city, for boy children of all ages. Many activities and programmes are offered, working with social workers, police, communities and other projects to provide hope and a future for Cape Town street kids. Visit The Homestead to learn more.
- Cotlands – this organisation offers hope and care to children living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Many AIDS orphans grow up not only without parents, but also with the risk of contracting the disease themselves. Cotlands works to help these orphans, through a number of projects that are greatly assisted by donors and volunteers. Visit Cotlands to learn more.
- African Tails – township life is hard on the furry inhabitants too, but with organisations such as African Tails, dogs are given the care and help they need even in the poorest communities. Sterilisation, vet care, adoptions and many other projects are done to protect these animals from neglect and abuse. Visit African Tails to learn more.
- Neighbourhood Old Age Homes (NOAH) – senior citizens in Cape Town face a number of challenges, but for disadvantaged communities, these challenges are even harder to face alone. NOAH offers subsidised care for seniors across the province, including the township areas. A network of social clubs aims to provide the support and interaction needed during the later years of life, ensuring a holistic approach that caters to the needs of our elders. Visit NOAH to learn more.
- SANCCOB – saviour of penguins and seabirds all over South Africa, SANCOB works throughout the year to preserve and protect our precious marine diversity. Whether they are cleaning and releasing penguins after an oil spill or saving habitats, the organisation has helped to maintain an environmental balance that is so crucial to our planet. Visit SANCOB to learn more.
- Oasis Association – this foundation addresses one of the biggest risk groups within our country – men, women and children with disabilities. Through a network of facilities, including children’s centres and homes, Oasis provides feeding and transport programmes, work occupational therapy, life skills and many other projects to aid the lives of those living with disabilities. Visit Oasis to learn more.
Of course, there are many, many other organisations that desperately need your help. A great way to connect to organisations and learn how to help with donations, equipment, supplies or time is to check out Greater Good South Africa. Here you will find causes, requests and many other ways to help. Whatever you do, however often you choose to do it, remember that every day can be a Mandela Day!