Over the course of history, human rights movement has seen the leadership of several extraordinary figures. On July 18, the world celebrates the achievement of the extraordinary Nelson Mandela. But the aims of the holiday reach further than just the actions of one man.
As the official Mandela Day website proclaims:
“It’s more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy. It is a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to change the world for the better”
There’s no one way to celebrate the day, as long as one thinks about helping others. The Nelson Mandela Foundation strives to make every day a Mandela day, by promoting people to carry out good works on their own. Along those lines, the Foundation has created an online platform to allow individuals from across the world to pledge, promote, encourage, and organize good works.
On MandelaDay.com you can find listed a number of areas (Shelter and Infrastructure, Environment, Food Security, Education and Literacy) to support by creating an action and or joining one. The majority of these actions are focused on initiatives in South Africa. One individual has reached out her friends to provide care packs for mothers and newborns. The Zoe Bakery Project aims to supply 67 loaves of bead to 67 families for 67 days, in a larger effort to serve those who are economically disadvantaged. The Shoebox is another ongoing initiative that is raising funds to purchase new school shoes for those who cannot normally afford them. Although the majority of the actions found on the site are based in South Africa, a number of them seek to spread the Nelson Mandela Legacy across the earth.
For instance, volunteers from the Municipality of San Polo D’Enza, Italy will gather in front of supermarkets throughout the area to gather food for families in need. All the way back in Rockville, Maryland the organization The Velocity of Books will be giving away 10,000 free books in the town square. And in Costa Rica there is an initiative to plant a tree for every family in the Guanacaste province.
I can’t help but applaud the open-ended and widespread message of the Mandela Foundation. Making the world a better place isn’t about doing one good thing one day, and then kicking our feet up and relaxing during the rest. At the same time, it’s not about constantly worrying about the troubles of the world and feeling helpless to stave them off. No. Only through a gradual shift in perception, in how we perceive the many ways that are own lives are connected to others can we hope to truly achieve the world that Nelson Mandela envisioned.
It’s not about making one big act. It’s about making small acts everyday throughout our lifetime. It’s about approaching the world with an attitude of wanting to better it.