by Staff Reporter on 16/07/12 at 10:26 am
Would you like to give to your community, but you’re just not sure how? On 18 July, the day officially known as Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela day), each and every citizen has the opportunity and responsibility to give back in some way. Christel House South Africa (CHSA), a school in Ottery, Cape Town which provides free education to disadvantaged learners, is getting in on the action this year by showing South Africans some easy and rewarding ways of using their 67 minutes.
Part of a global network of schools, CHSA’s primary goal is to break the cycle of poverty through an holistic approach: a combination of education, lifestyle management and community outreach programmes. All of the learners’ families fall below the poverty line, but unlike many other schools offering opportunities to the children of destitute families, children are not selected according to academic merit. As long as they are learning-abled, they may apply. The school aims to nurture each learner according to their individual abilities.
Sharon Williams, director of marketing and development at the school, says that Nelson Mandela International Day provides the ideal opportunity to raise awareness for what they do.
Small tasks, big results
“The day is all about offering up as little as 67 minutes of your time to honour the 67 years Mandela served and sacrificed for; we wanted to give people easy and inexpensive ways to do this, so we’re challenging people to:
- Read to the CHSA remedial class for 67 minutes
- Give a R67 contribution towards furthering a child’s education
- Donate 67 meals to hungry learners
- Offer 67 pairs of school shoes and socks
- Or 67 warm blankets or jerseys for relief during the winter months
- Or 67 pens or pencils
- Volunteer for 67 minutes on school projects
”We have nearly 800 beneficiaries who would benefit enormously from each and every contribution from generous South Africans,” says Williams. “But the day isn’t only about us, ours is a school that places much emphasis on giving back and helping others.”
The school has a service learning programme in place, where learners of all ages give back in different ways to surrounding communities. Another way they contribute to society is through their Graduates Give Back Programme. The programme encourages graduates to return to volunteer at the school and using their talents and skills to help improve and develop it for the benefit of the next generation of learners.
“We very much want to perpetuate the cycle of giving and see it transcend the communities from which our kids come from,” says Williams. “Nelson Mandela International Day is just another way to teach our learners these important lessons and of course to continue to help them get the best of what the school has to offer.”
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