“It is in your hands to make the world a better place.” – Nelson Mandela
This Sunday is Nelson Mandela International Day and mothers2mothers (m2m) is reflecting on what it means to us as an African organisation and how we can pay it forward with kindness and solidarity.
On 18 July every year, the United Nations celebrates this day in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to peace and freedom—and this year’s theme, One Hand Can Feed Another, has prompted us into action.
Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity, and the promotion of democracy and peace in South Africa and throughout the world—as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker, and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.
As a proudly African organisation, conceived in Cape Town, South Africa, almost 20 years ago, m2m’s deep roots in the country—and the wider African continent—has been a key part of our identity and a major driver for our work. Still headquartered under Table Mountain, one of Cape Town’s unmistakable landmarks, m2m was founded with the aim of creating health, hope, and an HIV-free future at a time when the HIV/AIDS epidemic was rampant in the region.
Since then, we have created sustainable employment for over 11,000 women living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, who in turn have reached over 12M women and children under two with lifesaving health services. Nelson Mandela’s legacy remains close to our heart as we embark on the next decades of work.
Taking Action for Nelson Mandela Day 2021
This year’s theme for Nelson Mandela Day speaks directly to our model at m2m—but more importantly, it is what is needed around the world right now.
According to Ipsos, “almost half (46%) of adult South Africans surveyed in late 2020 said that their households often had to go to bed hungry during the Covid-19 pandemic as they did not have enough money for food.”
Nelson Mandela inspired many people into action, so this year, we are sharing a number of ways that you can make a difference in your community, no matter where you live:
- Call your friends, neighbours, and family members to check in on them;
- Deliver some groceries – wear gloves, use sanitiser, leave it on their doorstep;
- Get tested for HIV at your nearest clinic and encourage your partner to do the same;
- Subscribe to newsletters from local and international charities like m2m and follow them on social media to see how you can help in the future;
- If the COVID protocols in your country allow, baby-sit for a single parent or parents who don’t have a support system;
- Help someone get a job—assist in putting together and printing their CV, or help them with interview skills, cover letters, photos, or even just something nice to wear to the interview;
- Collect all your unused items and donate them to a children’s home;
- Offer to mow the lawn or fix up the garden at a nursing home or hospice;
- Offer to fix things at a local school, clinic, or health centre such as painting, fixing broken windows, and replacing broken equipment.
- Explore ways to volunteer virtually—there are many great options listed on the Volunteer Match website. Simply select your field of interest and your location to get a list of opportunities for virtual volunteering.
This list is by no means comprehensive—there are so many things you can do in your own community to make the world a better place. If everyone does a little bit, it will go a long way towards making the world a better place!