Posts Tagged ‘Nelson Mandela Foundation’

Mandela Day – Now That’s My Kind of Holiday

nmdnodate copyToday, July 18, is Mandela Day, a cause for celebration and gratitude. A day for looking for connection with others, not distance or difference. A day to honor and touch others.

Especially now. Especially in days so dark in so many parts of the world.

July 18 is the birthday of Nelson Mandela, “Madiba” as a name of respect from his clan heritage…and it is the first Mandela Day to be celebrated since his death. A perfect day to look at how we respond to crisis, to disagreement, to discord. A shining opportunity to look at how we do for others and how we might do one thing more. A stunning day to look at how we sometimes retreat when chaos is too strong for us to navigate…when the exact opposite is the answer…to go forward and to reach out and do something for someone.

Today is a global call to action. Each of us has the power to change the world for the better. Each of us can make an impact on how we, as a global community, embrace peace and community and quality of life and assured safety. Each of us can.

Human rights for every human, no one more than another–that is when we know we did it. We have a lot, still, to do. Many minds must open. Many hearts must open. Many conversations must open. Many hands must open.

Find listings of actions and activities around the world here. Mandela worked for peace for 67 years–todays’ request is that we each start with just 67 minutes. Got an hour for the rest of us? If not today, use this special date to commit yourself to doing something soon.

How will you open hand and heart today, to touch another? For Madiba? For yourself? For all of us?

 

New Mandela School and First Lady in South Africa

Photo: The Nelson Mandela Foundation

The First Lady, Michelle Obama, is visiting South Africa and Botswana to bring focus to youth leadership, health, and wellness. A friend of ours, Alan Fitts, is her Trip Director, and blogged on the White House website about their first travel day, here. Mrs. Obama’s work with young women around the world is inspiring and bringing Sasha and Malia along on this journey is making it an extraordinary trip on all fronts. The family met with Nelson Mandela on their first day. Madiba (Mandela’s Xhosa clan name) has had some health scares, and was hospitalized when we were in South Africa in February, but as the figurative head of a nation and an entire age, a visit must have been a true high point, and likely a dream come true.

Mandela is having one of his own dreams come true now as well. It was announced last week that a new high school will be built in his birthplace, Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape. The Mandela School of Science and Technology will go far above expectations and honor: the original budget was state-of-the-art and projected to be about $4 million dollars. Entrepreneurs from around the world have joined forces to support the effort, and the goal is being expanded (as is the cost, now nearly $14 million…but not due to waste, due to dreaming larger to “fulfill Mandela’s dream”). Boarding facilities, a sports center, library, and auditorium are included, to give the youth today chances far beyond those that the young Mandela who was born here could have imagined.

Nelson Mandela Day 2010

What are you doing Sunday? July 18 is Nelson Mandela Day, and was declared so in 2009 by the United Nations. Madiba (Mandela’s Xhosa clan name and a term of endearment) celebrated his 90th birthday in 2008, and the worldwide recognition and embrace of his message of peace and service was focused on London. Last year, New York hosted the main Mandela Day events, and this year, it is in World Cup champion nation, Spain—Madrid to be exact.

No matter where you are, July 18 is a chance for the world to engage and jump in to service and demonstrating a commitment to everyone else with whom we share the planet. Start a new volunteer commitment this weekend, make a call to find out how to donate your time or money or used items, reach out to the people around you.

The Mandela Day website describes the celebration like this (emphasis mine):

• Mandela Day is an annual celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and a global call to action for people to recognize their individual ability to make an imprint and change the world around them.

• Mandela Day has been created to inspire people from every corner of the world to embrace the values that have embodied Nelson Mandela’s life – democracy; equality; reconciliation; diversity; responsibility; respect and freedom – for these are the values of Nelson Mandela and they are his legacy to the world.

• Mandela Day aims to showcase the work of the Nelson Mandela charitable organisations (Nelson Mandela Foundation; Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund; Mandela Rhodes Foundation) and raise monies to support their continuing work.

• By connecting people with ways to act on Nelson Mandela’s values, we aim to empower every individual to make an imprint on the world.

• The Mandela Day campaign message is simple: Nelson Mandela has given 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All we are asking is that everyone gives 67 minutes of their time, whether it’s supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community.

• Mandela Day is a global social movement – an umbrella idea – that does not discriminate, it’s open and lets in and embraces every organization that does good, whilst enabling people to serve their community and improve their lives.

• Mandela Day is not a holiday – it is a day for all of us to opt in and show that we can all make an impact.