Every year on 18 July – Nelson Mandela’s birthday – South Africa and the rest of the world join hands to celebrate International Mandela Day.
The Mandela Day message for 2011 is centred around “change”. It is a call to action for people everywhere to take responsibility for making the world a better place, one small step at a time, just as Madiba did. Nelson Mandela spent 67 years of his life serving his community, the country and the world at large in the struggle for peace and equality.
To celebrate his life and the values he embraces, International Mandela Day was launched in 2009. It encourages people to do something good, no matter how big or small for 67 minutes on this day.
In addition to Mandela Day, Mandela Mondays was started on 1 June 2011 to encourage people to make time in their schedules to do good deeds every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. The Nelson Mandela Foundation has come up with this idea as a way to realise its ideal of making “every day a Mandela day”.
Last year, millions of people worldwide jumped on board to honour and celebrate Mandela’s legacy. Many supported their local charities, built homes in their communities, donated food and clothes to disadvantaged communities or offered their services at hospitals, children’s homes and old age homes.
How will you spend your 67 minutes of service this year? There are many ways to get involved. Here are just a few suggestions.
- Create food parcels and give them to people in need, like street children.
- Volunteer to do shopping for an elderly or disabled person.
- Volunteer at your local police station or faith-based organisation.
- Offer your help at a local children’s home or an old-age home.
- Offer to look after the children of a single mother to give her a break or take the children on an outing.
- Mow someone’s lawn or help them to fix things around the garden or house.
- Read to someone who can’t read.
- Collect unused clothing and blankets from friends and donate them to homeless people.
- Collect old newspapers from a school, community centre or hospital and take them to a recycling centre.
- Visit someone in hospital