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Get involved this Mandela Day
On Mandela Day, contribute 67 minutes of your time towards the global movement for good
On Mandela Day, contribute 67 minutes of your time towards the global movement for good
On Mandela Day (18 July 2012), people around the world are encouraged to spend at least 67 minutes doing something positive for their communities in honour of the 67 years that Nelson Mandela spent fighting for social justice and a free, democratic South Africa.
The unofficial philanthropic day was inspired by Mandela’s speech on 27 June 2008 (his 90th birthday celebration) in London’s Hyde Park. In his address, Madiba called on the leaders of future generations to help change the world for the better: “It is in your hands now,” he urged.
Celebrated each year on the great former president’s birthday, Nelson Mandela International Day aims to inspire a ripple of good deeds throughout the world, and looks to encourage individuals, communities, governments and non-profit organisations to take one small step towards the larger leap of making a positive imprint.
Here in Cape Town, you can dip your toe into the metaphorical lake and cause a ripple of your own with our list of ways to make a difference.
How to get involved on Mandela Day 2012
Blikkiesdorp Call to Action Project. On 18 July 2012, give 67 minutes to the Boundless Heart Foundation, the non-profit organisation spearheading an initiative to reaffirm dignity and inspire change in the downtrodden Blikkiesdorp community. An assortment of enterprises have banded together and, along with Boundless Heart, are sourcing volunteers to help paint homes and murals, plant trees and vegetables, launch a library with a mobile museum, and participate in a read-a-thon. If you’re interested in getting involved contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org. The project runs from 8:30am until 4:30pm.
Charity begins at home. Literally; take a look around, declutter your house and donate the unwanted items to a charity of your choice. You’ll not only be doing something good for others, but for yourself as well.
- If you’re without a car, or if you can’t make it to one of the many places in Cape Town to drop off old clothes, call “It’s Your Turn” (Tel: +27 (0) 83 577 1123), and they’ll come directly to your door to pick up your priceless donation. The organisation focuses on collecting and redistributing old matric dance dresses – you felt like a princess in it, now help shape someone else’s storybook day.
Donate your time and talent. You don’t need to be Rockefeller to donate something valuable. Your time and talent can even rival the purchasing power of cold, hard cash. So, either volunteer to help with the day-to-day tasks undertaken by local charities, or offer a specialised service based on your own unique skill set: cook someone a delicious meal, design a pamphlet or write a press release that could help a start-up business, or give a community member a hand in repairing something broken. Baffled about where to start? Here are a few ideas:
- Knit-a-row-and-go. Championed by Me-a-Mamma, a company that markets maternity and breastfeeding wear, knit-a-row-and-go is your chance to put your knitting skills (if you have them) to good use. The movement has left wool, needles and instructions in cafés, hair salons and waiting rooms around Cape Town as part of an effort to knit – through crowd-sourced labour – 1000 blankets for orphaned babies. On Mandela Day, contact Me-a-Mamma (Tel: +27 (0) 71 872 7104) to find out where you can slip in a stitch or two even amidst your busy schedule. Knead Bakery is one collection of eateries that’s latched on to the initiative.
- Check out our list of Cape Town Charities.
Save the world, one sandwich at a time. Buy a loaf of bread, a chunk of cheese, and a few tomatoes, then make a couple of sandwiches and hand them out to those in need on your way to work. You could make this venture even simpler: buy a big bag of whichever fruit is in season (it’s normally cheaper, and more delicious), and do the same. Rather give food than money to those in need; though, if you would like to donate money, there are plenty of Cape Town NGOs adept at allocating funds to the proper channels.
Light up an ill child’s life. Be a friend to a sick little one, and team up with the Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association (Tel: +27 (0)21 658 5243), the voluntary support group of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch. With the help of toy trolleys, educational games and other fun goodies, spend 67 minutes giving love and comfort to some of the children who need it most.
Buy the Big Issue. Just do it; don’t pretend you have a copy stowed away somewhere in your secret garden when a vendor comes past. Forking out the cash is a small thing, but it’ll make a big difference; as the proverbial saying goes, “the change is in your pocket”. Or, for that matter, spare R2 for the folks selling the ‘Funny Money’ pamphlets – you may even get a chuckle out of it.
Neighbourly love. Live next door to a single parent? See if you can babysit for an evening. Otherwise, visit a lonely elderly pensioner for a cup of tea, and while you’re there, change blown light bulbs, or give them a hand with another household chore that needs attention. The trick here is to keep your eyes open, and to notice the people around you.
Become a bookworm. Burrow deep into the hearts of those at a retirement home or a hospice by reading to them, or help a struggling learner develop literacy skills in partnership with the Help2Read programme (Tel: +27 (0)21 685 8085). This initiative places volunteers at allocated schools after a free one-day training session. On a similar note, donate your old, unwanted books to impoverished school libraries or to Equal Education’s book depot on Roeland Street, The Bookery (Tel: +27 (0) 21 461 4189). The Bookery is also always looking for volunteers to help cover, shelve and categorise books.
The gift of life. Donate blood at your local hospital, and you’ll feel dizzy with the knowledge that you’ve potentially saved someone’s life; a single donation could aid up to three people in need and only takes about 30 minutes. To find a blood drive in your area on Mandela Day, visit the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (Tel: +27 (0)21 507 6300). Alternatively, there are currently thousands of South African citizens waiting for life-saving organ donations, so take the time to register with the Organ Donor Foundation (Tel: +27 (0)800 22 66 11).
Join Habitat for Humanity. From 16 to 20 July 2012, this well-known social enterprise is embarking on a nationwide blitz to build 67 houses for those in need. The organisation is calling on all South Africans – including those in the Western Cape – to either volunteer their time on-site or to donate much-needed funds to finance materials. The Cape Town-based Habitat for Humanity project will take place in Mfuleni; if you’re interested in participating, contact them on +27 (0) 21 657 5640.
Say thank you. Make someone else’s day by simply saying ‘thank you’. It can be as easy as taking a security guard a cup of coffee, or helping your kids draw a thank you card for their teacher or librarian. Similarly, random acts of kindness never go unnoticed: give way to another car in traffic, offer your seat to someone when travelling on public transport, encourage a colleague at work – be kind in any way you can. These gestures may seem small, but the ripple has to start somewhere.
Dine responsibly. StreetSmart SA, the organisation dedicated to helping street children rebuild their lives, has rallied participating restaurants in Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Somerset West and Paarl to serve warming soups throughout winter to raise funds for and heighten awareness of their cause. On Mandela Day, contact them (Tel: +27 (0) 21 418 0621) to find out at which eateries you can make your meal more meaningful. Five rand from every bill is donated to the organisation.
Volunteer at an animal shelter. Our furry and feathered friends need a helping hand too. Whether you’re walking a dog, cleaning out cages, or brainstorming a fundraising campaign, your time and energy will go highly appreciated.
- Animal Rescue Operation is spaying 67 animals at the animal hospital in Ottery on Mandela Day. Donate your veterinary experience (if you have any and want to help), or, alternatively, give R67 towards the cause (Tel: +27 (0) 21 396 5511 – ask for Jessica).
- For the love of penguins call the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) to sign up for their volunteer programme: (Tel: +27 (0)21 557 6155).
- The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is the oldest animal welfare agency in the country; call them to see how you can help: (Tel: +27 (0)21 700 4140).
- Adopt a rhino by making monthly donations, and help to keep this beautiful creature from becoming extinct.
- TEARS, a pro-life, non-profit organisation in Sunnydale that aims to rescue, rehabilitate, reunite and re-home lost, abandoned, abused and neglected dogs and cats, relies solely on the generosity of the public to keep afloat. Contact them to see how you can be of service: (Tel: +27 (0) 785 4482).
Minimise your negative impact on the environment. Start by spending your 67 minutes implementing a recycling system for your rubbish: separate your food waste from your solid waste, create a container for the recyclable items, and consider making a worm farm to compost your biodegradable left-overs. Look into installing solar panels so your geyser can run on renewable energy, and buy a geyser blanket to reduce the amount of power needed to heat the water. Find ways to limit the amount of water you use, such as installing eco-friendly taps and shower heads that minimise flow. Interested in sowing more serious seeds?
- Plant a tree with Greenpop. This Cape Town-born social enterprise is devoted to raising environmental awareness, planting in under-greened communities and combating climate change. You can donate a tree (R100), or donate your time: every Wednesday they call for volunteers to help plant at schools, crèches, orphanages or similar institutions. Contact email@example.com.
Go local. Instead of employing a commercial company, support people in your community by hiring them to do jobs in your home or for your business. Additionally, consider buying foodstuffs or clothing tied to non-profit partnerships:
- Khayelitsha Cookies: Devoted to making the best biscuits in South Africa, Khayelitsha Cookies is just as committed to their responsible, equal-opportunity hiring policy. The company only employs previously unemployed women from Khayelitsha, and then endows them with an invaluable, long-lasting skill set. The cookies can be found in the biscuit aisles of Pick n Pay and Spar grocery stores in the Western Cape.
- Earthchild Clothing: The original donors responsible for financing the Earthchild Project, a non-profit organisation focused on the holistic development of children, teachers, schools and communities, this clothing line still gives a portion of their proceeds to this innovative initiative.
- 46664Fashion: This Madiba-inspired fashion label donates 7% of profits to its parent 46664 Foundation, a non-profit global HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaign. The Afrocentric apparel line is looking forward to its international launch on 18 July 2012, but can be found locally at Stuttafords Claremont, Century City and Tygervalley.
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