Friday, 25 July 2014

UN in your language

Can you spare 67 minutes of your time helping others?

NMF Photo Matthew Willman 2On this year’s Mandela Day, people the world over are being asked by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to do just that. The UN is joining this call to world citizens to devote 67 minutes of our time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.

By devoting 67 minutes of your time – one minute for every year of Mr. Mandela’s public service – you can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good.

Join in and donate 67 minutes of your time in serving your local community on Nelson Mandela Day, 18 July 2011.

For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity – as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.

This is a small but valuable gesture that pays homage to the sacrifices and accomplishments of Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison yet never gave up his belief in a just and democratic society that works for the betterment of all, regardless of ethnicity or creed.

You can easily join in this celebration by devoting 67 minutes of your time to community service as a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good.

Take action! Make your commitmentto 67 minutes of service on Mandela Day

Here are just a few examples of how you can take action and inspire change:

• 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.

• Read to someone who can’t. Visit a local home for the blind and open up a new world for someone else.

• Help out at the local animal shelter. Dogs without homes still need a walk and a bit of love.

• Help someone get a job. Put together and print a CV for them, or help them with their interview skills.

• 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.

• Get tested for HIV and encourage your partner to do so too.

• Take someone you know, who can’t afford it, to get their eyes tested or their teeth checked.

• Donate a wheelchair or guide dog, to someone in need.

• Buy a few blankets, or grab the ones you no longer need from home and give them to someone in need.

To see 67 suggestions for action on Mandela Day, visit the Nelson Mandela Foundation site: http://www.nelsonmandela.org/

Not only individuals, but private companies and organisations around the world, will join in the celebrations of the Nelson Mandela International Day this year. South African Airways have rebranded their entire fleet with the Nelson Mandela Day logo, and will arrange educational activities for children throughout South Africa in order to spread the message of Mandela all over the world.

Bikers for Mandela Day

Nelson Mandela Foundation has launched the Bikers for Mandela Day project, in which some 25 South African celebrities, businessmen, athletes and others will bike around South Africa, starting in Monte Casino and ending in Pretoria, visiting all the communities they pass along the way and performing small services to those communities while spreading the spirit of Nelson Mandela. For example, veterinary Dr Kobus van der Merwe will be one of the bikers, educating communities about animal health and treating sick animals along the way.

Cooking for the gardener

On the website MandelaDay.com, the Nelson Mandela Foundation encourages people to share actions, however small, that they have planned for Mandela day. Reading the list will remind you of how easy it is to do something positive for the world.

In Memphis, Tennessee, a community initiative called Indie Memphis is screening films on the theme of freedom.

Rick & Nancy Myron from Saginaw, Michigan, are planning to have a picnic in their diverse neighborhood, inviting all who live there to a truly multicultural gathering.

Dianna Howe in Lusaka, Zambia, who cooks for her boyfriend every day, has decided to cook lunch for her gardener David and his family as well.

All of these small actions are maybe not hugely significant in themselves, but the spirit in which they are carried out is something we need to cherish and nurture.

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Give 67 minutes to do good on Mandela Day