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How to make your 67 minutes count on Mandela Day

18 July is the perfect opportunity to use your life to serve others. Here are some ways you can make a difference.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation describes Mandela Day as a celebration of our collective power to create a global movement for good and make a positive impact on the world.

Since the inaugural celebration on 18 July 2009, South Africans locally and abroad have been volunteering their time, resources and talents to connect with others.

'It is in your hands to make our world a better one for all, declared Madiba, as he passed the torch of public service to everyone. So no matter what you choose to do, your 67 minutes (1 minute for every year of Mandela’s public service) should be about community service and changing the world for the better. 

The Nelson Mandela Foundation put forward a few ways to volunteer if you’re not sure how to spend your Mandela Day.

1. Reach out to someone

Do you know a person who is depressed, doesn’t seem to have many friends and desperately needs to feel a connection to humanity? Sitting down for coffee or lunch could help to ease their isolation.

2. Give the gift of reading

There are many people in facilities for the elderly who would love to have someone read to them. You could also volunteer at a library and read a book like The Long Walk to Freedom: Children’s Edition to a captive audience of kids.

3. Help someone get a job

If you have the skills, why not help someone set up or update their CV. You could even test their interview skills and guide them through the process.

4. Clean up your neighbourhood

Do your surrounds have a run-down playground or community centre that needs an upgrade? Visible signs of decline and disorder could encourage further crime, so this is a great community project for a group of motivated citizens.

5. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food bank

You can make the soup yourself and deliver it to a shelter or commit to providing a porridge breakfast to kids at a nursery school. There are also organisations such as Rise Against Hunger that coordinate the packaging and distribution of food.

6. Host a ready-to-learn initiative

Help kids get ready for school by making up kits of school supplies or clothing. Going to school with socks and shoes as well as stationery is a small gesture that can be a huge confidence booster for a child.

7. Organise talks for local high schools

You don’t have to assemble high-profile celebrity guests to deliver a powerful message. Every community has inspiring men and women who can share real-life experiences that will inspire young people to think beyond their current reality. 

Whatever you choose to do, try to think beyond 67 minutes to something that’s sustainable. 'We want South Africans and those around the world to commit to long-term, regular projects that will tackle poverty, says Sello Hatang, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

As part of the global call to action for Mandela Day, Life Healthcare hospitals will be participating in various upliftment projects for the communities they have identified and serve.