What to do on Mandela Day?

2013-07-17 08:34
Video

Richard Branson pledges 67 minutes

2013-07-16 13:38

Are you planning to pledge any time on Mandela Day?WATCH

Madiba is one of South Africa's greatest heroes. Not only is he loved and adored by South Africans, he is also revered internationally. So much so, that his birthday on 18 July is celebrated as Mandela Day the world over - with it even being officially endorsed by the United Nations.

What is Mandela Day?

The message is simple. Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. It seems only fitting that we give 67 minutes of our time on this day, whether it’s supporting a chosen charity or serving in the local community.

It is a day where Nelson Mandela's life's work is celebrated annually through an act of kindness. People are asked to spend 67minutes of the day helping someone else.

Some of those who have pledged their time include Actor Morgan Freedman who is planning to deliver books to children at a school in Mississippi, Business Mogul Richard Branson plans on mentoring a special group of young entrepreneurs for 67 minutes and Actress Alfre Woodard plans on working with kids at the cultural arts academy in New Orleans.

What can I do with my 67 minutes you might be asking?

Really, there are no set rules. Anything that will impact someone else's life positively. Scott Adams, author and creator of the Dilbert comic strip, said, "Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end."

Otherwise, here are some ideas...

1. Make a new friend. Get to know someone from a different cultural background. Only through mutual understanding can we rid our communities of intolerance and xenophobia.
2. Read to someone who can't. Visit a local home for the blind and open up a new world for someone else.
3. Fix the potholes in your street or neighbourhood.
4. Help out at the local animal shelter. Dogs without homes still need a walk and a bit of love.
5. Find out from your local library if it has a story hour and offer to read during it.
6. Offer to take an elderly neighbour who can't drive to do their shopping/chores.
7. Organise a litter cleanup day in your area.
8. Get a group of people to each knit a square and make a blanket for someone in need.
9. Volunteer at your police station or local faith-based organisation.
10. Donate your skills!
11. If you're a builder, help build or improve someone's home.
12. Help someone to get his/her business off the ground.
13. Build a website for someone who needs one, or for a cause you think needs the support.
14. Help someone get a job. Put together and print a CV for them, or help them with their interview skills.
15. If you're a lawyer, do some pro bono work for a worthwhile cause or person.
16. Write to your area councillor about a problem in the area that requires attention, which you, in your personal capacity, are unable to attend to.
17. Sponsor a group of learners to go to the theatre/zoo.

Help out for good health

18. Get in touch with your local HIV organisations and find out how you can help.
19. Help out at your local hospice, as staff members often need as much support as the patients.
20. Many terminally ill people have no one to speak to. Take a little time to have a chat and bring some sunshine into their lives.
21. Talk to your friends and family about HIV.
22. Get tested for HIV and encourage your partner to do so too.
23. Take a bag full of toys to a local hospital that has a children's ward.
24. Take younger members of your family for a walk in the park.
25. Donate some medical supplies to a local community clinic.
26. Take someone you know, who can't afford it, to get their eyes tested or their teeth checked.
27. Bake something for a support group of your choice.
28. Start a community garden to encourage healthy eating in your community.
29. Donate a wheelchair or guide dog, to someone in need.
30. Create a food parcel and give it to someone in need.

Become an educator

31. Offer to help out at your local school.
32. Mentor a school leaver or student in your field of expertise.
33. Coach one of the extra-mural activities the school offers. You can also volunteer to coach an extra-mural activity the school doesn't offer.
34. Offer to provide tutoring in a school subject you are good at.
35. Donate your old computer.
36. Help maintain the sports fields.
37. Fix up a classroom by replacing broken windows, doors and light bulbs.
38. Donate a bag of art supplies.
39. Teach an adult literacy class.
40. Paint classrooms and school buildings.
41. Donate your old textbooks, or any other good books, to a school library.

Help those living in poverty

42. Buy a few blankets, or grab the ones you no longer need from home and give them to someone in need.
43. Clean out your cupboard and donate the clothes you no longer wear to someone who needs them.
44. Put together food parcels for a needy family.
45. Organise a bake sale, car wash or garage sale for charity and donate the proceeds.
46. To the poorest of the poor, shoes can be a luxury. Don't hoard them if you don't wear them. Pass them on!
47. Volunteer at your local soup kitchen.

Care for the youth

48. Help at a local children's home or orphanage.
49. Help the kids with their studies.
50. Organise a friendly game of soccer, or sponsor the kids to watch a game at the local stadium.
51. Coach a sports team and make new friends.
52. Donate sporting equipment to a children's shelter.
53. Donate educational toys and books to a children's home.
54. Paint, or repair, infrastructure at an orphanage or youth centre.
55. Mentor someone. Make time to listen to what the kids have to say and give them good advice.

Treasure the elderly

56. If you play an instrument, visit your local old-age home and spend an hour playing for the residents and staff.
57. Learn the story of someone older than you. Too often people forget that the elderly have a wealth of experience and wisdom and, more often than not, an interesting story to tell.
58. Take an elderly person grocery shopping; they will appreciate your company and assistance.
59. Take someone's dog for a walk if they are too frail to do so themselves.
60. Mow someone's lawn and help them to fix things around their house.

Look after your environment

61. If there are no recycling centres in your area, petition your area councillor to provide one.
62. Donate indigenous trees to beautify neighbourhoods in poorer areas.
63. Collect old newspapers from a school/community centre/hospital and take them to a recycling centre.
64. Identify open manhole covers or drains in your area and report them to the local authorities.
65. Organise the company/school/organisation that you work with to switch off all unnecessary lights and power supplies at night and on weekends.
66. Engage with people who litter and see if you can convince them of the value of clean surroundings.
67. Organise to clean up your local park, river, beach, street, town square or sports grounds with a few friends. Our children deserve to grow up in a clean and healthy environment.

If you are looking for an organised event where volunteers are specifically needed, check out your local NGO or community centre or the following websites: 

www.myggsa.co.za
www.wonted.co.za
www.cheesekids.org.za

And remember: "Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is anything that lifts another person." C. Neil Strait, pastor

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