Mandela Day, is held on July 18 each year. The day remembers Mandela’s achievements in working towards conflict resolution, democracy, human rights, peace, and reconciliation. Maphalane Disability Trust was inspired for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices as our beloved Tata said that “it is in your hands now”. The Trust felt that it was 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.
The Theme for Mandela Day 2015 was Food Security, Education & Literacy and Shelter & Infrastructure. This year MDT deemed it necessary to visit the people living among rotting rubbish, smoke-filled air and polluted water, these are the men, women and children who spend their lives scouring for recyclable treasures in a garbage – filled abyss – just so they can survive. Living in utter poverty, these rubbish pickers are exposed every day to hazardous waste, such as used needles, as well as infectious diseases. The Trust visited this scene which is played out on dozens of landfill sites across the world, as those living in extreme poverty try and make ends meet. The employees at Maphalane Disability Trust celebrated the important day by preparing sandwiches and soup for the homeless people in Kimberley and surrounding areas. Blankets were also distributed to ensure warmth during the extreme cold weather experienced on Mandela Day. The employees prepared meals for the homeless and the outcome was phenomenal. The sites that were visited on the day were the Kimberley dumping site, the Shoprite arcade, CBD areas as well as on the outskirts of Kimberley, where numerous homeless people were discovered. The recipients were extremely grateful and expressed their gratitude towards the initiative the Trust made. “ I am so happy that there are people who thought about us on this cold day, more importantly people who deemed us important and decided to prepare a meal for us”, said one homeless person whom did not want to be named. This experience was an eye-opener as well as a reality check as it taught us to appreciate all that we have regardless how small it might be.
“This is the reality which some people have to face every single day, and I am thankful that I was able to contribute towards making a change in someone’s life. The 67 minutes was indeed productive”, said Bontle Wildebees, CEO of Maphalane Disability Trust.