Giving at least 67 minutes for Mandela
From building homes to packing food hampers, donating clothes, and teaching children the value of giving, community members and organisations spent 67 minutes or longer helping those less fortunate on Mandela Day.
Thirty-six homes are being built in Orange Farm, a township 45km south of Johannesburg, as part of the Hearts Build Homes initiative by The Angel Network and Fingertips of Africa.
Glynne Wolman, founder of The Angel Network, told the SA Jewish Report that this is the organisation’s biggest initiative ever, and families are expected to move into the homes next week.
The initiative is dedicated to building homes for the many families in townships whose homes were ravaged by floods, fires, and other disasters.
A centre for Early Childhood Development and a soup kitchen were also being built in Orange Farm on Mandela Day, thanks to generous donations from corporates. In the weeks to come, six more homes will be built in KwaZulu-Natal.
“All homes will be stocked with essential household contents,” Wolman said in her speech at the Wanderers Stadium on Mandela Day. The corporates that contributed financially towards the homes were there, packing food parcels and home essentials. The sun was shining and the atmosphere festive.
Wolman said the commitment shown by The Angel Network’s generous donors has had a profound effect on so many lives. “Today we come together to celebrate the spirit of ubuntu, which teaches us that we are connected, and we are better together. It’s in this spirit that our donors have joined hands with us, offering support and resources to provide homes to those in need. By sponsoring these homes, our donors have provided safety and comfort to families, children, and individuals who have faced unimaginable challenges.”
Yehuda Lazarus, the founder of Fingertips of Africa, said, “I’m proud to stand together with The Angel Network in the true power of ubuntu, in the name of Nelson Mandela, to create a brighter future for all.”
Just more than six kilometres away, food hampers were being packaged for 730 members of the community at Yad Aharon & Michael in Rouxville, Johannesburg.
Students from Glen Oaks Primary School and King David as well as community members dedicated 67 minutes to packing these hampers. “The attendance is much better than previous years,” said Jody Eberlin, who takes care of all Yad Aharon’s volunteer programmes.
She says the bags include everything one needs for a week – such as fish, dairy products, vegetables, chicken, and meat – and were distributed between 15:00 on Mandela Day and 20 July.
King David Linksfield matric pupil Tyler Goldberg came voluntarily to help out at Yad Aharon. “It feels great because I realise how many families I’m helping,” he said. “It’s sad to see how many people need it, but it’s nice to know we’re helping them.”
Glen Oaks Primary School pupils were helping out at Yad Aharon for the first time. “We always do our 67 minutes for Mandela Day and we try to do different things every year,” said teacher Peta-Lee Levitan. “It feels wonderful to be here. The kids are loving it and they’re doing well, so we’re really proud of them.”
By helping those less fortunate, the pupils, between the ages of seven and 11, gain a sense of tolerance, said teacher Stacy Schneider. “We have outreach at school, but now it’s also about being involved in other communities.”
Community member Joyce Levin comes to Yad Aharon with her grandchildren every Mandela Day. “It’s important for children to know that there are people who have much less than you. I’m blown away by what gets done here,” she said, pointing to the many loaves of bread. “Every year there’s more to pack.”
Meanwhile Minnie Bersohn Pre-Primary School schoolchildren, parents, and staff pulled together to create an incredible campaign to celebrate Mandela Day. Before school broke up for the holidays, children, together with their parents, had the opportunity to “buy” items from a virtual tuck shop. The parents would buy the sweets or goodies that the children chose for themselves, but these would go to children less privileged. More than R7 000 was raised by the Minnie Bersohn community this way, and the money was used to make hampers for the 91 children at Boitshepo Crèche in Cosmo City.
“It’s never too early to begin teaching children the importance of giving to those less fortunate,” says Mandi Defries, principal of Minnie Bersohn. “Mandela Day is the perfect opportunity for our children to learn the mitzvah of tzedaka, and show them the importance of community. We also loved the fact that this campaign was a real case of educating through a fun and innovative way.”
A group of enthusiastic Minnie Bersohn teachers spent Mandela Day at Boitshepo Crèche, which the school has chosen to partner with in order to ensure its growth and sustainability.
The Union of Jewish Women usually packs 100 bags for Mandela Day, but this year it collected enough items from the community to pack 20 more. “Our collection was amazing. This was a really great one,” says Bev Cohen, a member on the union’s executive committee.
Cohen says the bags were distributed to the Edenvale Clinic Hospital and two clinics in Alexandra, Johannesburg, on Mandela Day. “Each bag contains a babygrow, a vest, a beanie, socks, a blanket, 12 nappies, a fluffy toy, a packet of sanitary towels, a packet of biscuits, a bottle of water, wet wipes, aqueous cream, a bottle of perfume, sanitiser, and soap.”