NELSON MANDELA DAY – TAKE ACTION!

Image67 ways to change the world

If you haven’t made plans yet and really want to do something this Mandela Day, here are 67 options taken from http://www.mandeladay.com:

 

Think of others

1. Make a new friend. Get to know someone from a different cultural background. Only through mutual understanding can we rid our communities of intolerance and xenophobia.

2. Read to someone who can’t. Visit a local home for the blind and open up a new world for someone else.

3. Report the potholes in your street or neighbourhood.

4. Help out at the local animal shelter. Dogs without homes still need a walk and a bit of love.

5. Find out from your local library if it has a story hour and offer to read during it.

6. Offer to take an elderly neighbour who can’t drive to do their shopping/chores.

7. Organise a litter cleanup day in your area.

8. Get a group of people to each knit a square and make a blanket for someone in need.

9. Volunteer at your police station or local faith-based organisation.

10. Donate your skills!

11. If you’re a builder, help build or improve someone’s home.

12. Help someone to get his/her business off the ground.

13. Build a website for someone who needs one, or for a cause you think needs the support.

14. Help someone get a job. Put together and print a CV for them, or help them with their interview skills.

15. If you’re a lawyer, do some pro bono work for a worthwhile cause or person.

16. Write to your area councillor about a problem in the area that requires attention, which you, in your personal capacity, are unable to attend to.

17. Sponsor a group of learners to go to the theatre/zoo.

 

Help out for good health

18. Get in touch with your local HIV organisations and find out how you can help.

19. Help out at your local hospice, as staff members often need as much support as the patients.

20. Many terminally ill people have no one to speak to. Take a little time to have a chat and bring some sunshine into their lives.

21. Talk to your friends and family about HIV.

22. Get tested for HIV and encourage your partner to do so too.

23. Take a bag full of toys to a local hospital that has a children’s ward.

24. Take younger members of your family for a walk in the park.

25. Donate some medical supplies to a local community clinic.

26. Take someone you know, who can’t afford it, to get their eyes tested or their teeth checked.

27. Bake something for a support group of your choice.

28. Start a community garden to encourage healthy eating in your community.

29. Donate a wheelchair or guide dog, to someone in need.

30. Create a food parcel and give it to someone in need.

 

Become an educator

31. Offer to help out at your local school.

32. Mentor a school leaver or student in your field of expertise.

33. Coach one of the extramural activities the school offers. You can also volunteer to coach an extramural activity the school doesn’t offer.

34. Offer to provide tutoring in a school subject you are good at.

35. Donate your old computer.

36. Help maintain the sports fields.

37. Fix up a classroom by replacing broken windows, doors and light bulbs.

38. Donate a bag of art supplies.

39. Teach an adult literacy class.

40. Paint classrooms and school buildings.

41. Donate your old textbooks, or any other good books, to a school library.

 

Help those living in poverty

42. Buy a few blankets, or grab the ones you no longer need from home and give them to someone in need.

43. Clean out your cupboard and donate the clothes you no longer wear to someone who needs them.

44. Put together food parcels for a needy family.

45. Organise a bake sale, car wash or garage sale for charity and donate the proceeds.

46. To the poorest of the poor, shoes can be a luxury. Don’t hoard them if you don’t wear them. Pass them on!

47. Volunteer at your local soup kitchen.

 

Care for the youth

48. Help at a local children’s home or orphanage.

49. Help the kids with their studies.

50. Organise a friendly game of soccer, or sponsor the kids to watch a game at the local stadium.

51. Coach a sports team and make new friends.

52. Donate sporting equipment to a children’s shelter.

53. Donate educational toys and books to a children’s home.

54. Paint, or repair, infrastructure at an orphanage or youth centre.

55. Mentor someone. Make time to listen to what the kids have to say and give them good advice.

 

Treasure the elderly

56. If you play an instrument, visit your local old-age home and spend an hour playing for the residents and staff.

57. Learn the story of someone older than you. Too often people forget that the elderly have a wealth of experience and wisdom and, more often than not, an interesting story to tell.

58. Take an elderly person grocery shopping; they will appreciate your company and assistance.

59. Take someone’s dog for a walk if they are too frail to do so themselves.

60. Mow someone’s lawn and help them to fix things around their house.

 

Look after your environment

61. If there are no recycling centres in your area, petition your area councillor to provide one.

62. Donate indigenous trees to beautify neighbourhoods in poorer areas.

63. Collect old newspapers from a school/community centre/hospital and take them to a recycling centre.

64. Identify open manhole covers or drains in your area and report them to the local authorities.

65. Organise the company/school/organisation that you work with to switch off all unnecessary lights and power supplies at night and on weekends.

66. Engage with people who litter and see if you can convince them of the value of clean surroundings.

67. Organise to clean up your local park, river, beach, street, town square or sports grounds with a few friends. Our children deserve to grow up in a clean and healthy environment.

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Bulawayo Declaration for Youth Development

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We, the members of the Bulawayo Junior City Council and the Children’s Parliament in Bulawayo, after attending the International Youth Day Bulawayo Youth Forum held on the 22nd of August 2012 at the Small City Hall under the theme: “Building a better world, partnering with youth”;

 

Commit ourselves to this Youth Declaration for the Development of Young People in Bulawayo;

Recognizing the Millennium Development Goals on:

1.       Eradicating Extreme Poverty and Hunger,
2.       Achieving Universal Primary Education,
6.       Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases,
8.       Developing a global partnership for development;

 

Aware that the bulk of young people out of school are unemployed, and the majority of those employed are engaged in low-paying sales, service and unskilled jobs;

Concerned that young people are engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse with 48% of girls having begun child-bearing by age 19 and 5.9% of young people aged 15 to 24 years living with HIV in Bulawayo[i];

Further concerned that young people are unable to further their education at secondary and tertiary level due to lack of financial support;

Acknowledging the underlying factors influencing these trends in that:

  • Traditional sexuality education platforms are no longer functioning, forcing young people to seek advice from ill-informed peers and culturally irrelevant media sources,
  • Bulawayo City Council-run recreational facilities for young people are largely defunct and unattractive, causing young people to refer to recreational centres prone to irresponsible behaviour including drug abuse, violence and risky sexual activity,
  • Young people lack the skills, opportunities and information to break the cycle of poverty in their families and communities;

Believing that meaningful youth participation is the key for sustainable development and that anything for us without us is against us;

Knowing that young people have the energy, intellect and collective power to drive development policies, strategies and actions in Bulawayo;

Faced with this situation, we the members of the Bulawayo Junior City Council and the Children’s Parliament in Bulawayo commit ourselves to:

  • Become role models for fellow young people by protecting ourselves from HIV, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and drug and alcohol abuse,
  • Share information with young people on HIV prevention, avoiding drug abuse and improving self-realization in combating poverty,
  • Convene additional discussion forums with government, youth-serving organizations, the corporate sector and young people on pertinent development issues of interest including but not limited to climate change, education, health and poverty eradication as they pertain to young people in Bulawayo,
  • Read and understand existing strategies and legal frameworks guiding work on sexual reproductive health, poverty eradication and governance in relation to young people, including the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy,
  • Advocate for youth development in Bulawayo in close cooperation with the Bulawayo City Council and Parliament of Zimbabwe structures,
  • Disseminate this Youth Declaration for the Development of Young People in Bulawayo as widely as possible to youth and adult partners, in the city and the country as a whole,
  • Partner with different organizations and government structures in the delivery of interventions and campaigns aimed at eradicating poverty, enhancing education and addressing sexual reproductive health of young people;

 

While recognizing our responsibility to enforce this declaration by all actors intervening for the development of young people in Bulawayo, we, the representatives of the Bulawayo Junior City Council and the Children’s Parliament in Bulawayo call upon:

 

Media houses to

  • Afford adequate attention to youth development issues in their publications and broadcasts;

Government to

  • Recapitalize industries in Bulawayo to allow for increased employment of young people and to enable increased financial resources for investment in recreational facilities for young people,
  • Support and increase allocation of meaningful spaces for young people to influence development dialogues and decisions influencing youth development in Bulawayo;

Youth serving organizations to

  • Convene workshops for youth leaders and young people on sexual reproductive health and rights;

 

Companies in the corporate sector to

  •  Avail resources for the refurbishment and maintenance of recreational facilities for young people,
  • Create gainful employment opportunities for young people,
  • Provide scholarships and financial support for young people who are unable to further their education due to financial difficulties,
  • Provide financial support to the Bulawayo Junior Council and the Children’s Parliament in Bulawayo for them to effectively carry out duties in ensuring the development of young people in Bulawayo;

 

Young people to

¾    Safeguard their sexual reproductive health by getting tested for HIV, asking for guidance from health workers and upholding abstinence until they get married,

¾  Utilize existent recreational facilities provided by the Bulawayo City Council in areas where these are present,

¾  Prioritize their education, focus on their goals, be determined to succeed, be confident of their purpose, desire to see and influence change in their environment and maintain a positive attitude in the face of challenges;

 

We make this declaration in full hope that all stakeholders will work to ensure its fulfilment and in appreciation of the leadership role we as young people will need to perform in holding them to account.

 

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 22 August 2012


[i] Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey 2010/11

The Junior Citizen

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Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton; these are great people who have dedicated their lives to helping others and to making the world a better place. This may sound cliché I know, especially since I have never met these people and I may never meet them, but I have met a leader that is still finding his footing in the world but has already started changing the lives of many, Bonlat Machiha.

Bonlat is an 18 year old A-level student from Founders High School who served as the Child Governor for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province (2011-2012).  This young man has defied the hurdles of age and proven to us that the slightest dent makes the biggest transformation and while most youth think that they have to dream big or create a massive social innovation to make a difference, he went the simple route. On the 20th of…

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An 18 Year Old Change-Maker

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Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton; these are great people who have dedicated their lives to helping others and to making the world a better place. This may sound cliché I know, especially since I have never met these people and I may never meet them, but I have met a leader that is still finding his footing in the world but has already started changing the lives of many, Bonlat Machiha.

Bonlat is an 18 year old A-level student from Founders High School who served as the Child Governor for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province (2011-2012).  This young man has defied the hurdles of age and proven to us that the slightest dent makes the biggest transformation and while most youth think that they have to dream big or create a massive social innovation to make a difference, he went the simple route. On the 20th of December this year, he officially opened a piggery project at Thuthuka Children’s Home as a sustainable source of funding for them. He also donated a sizeable amount of groceries to the home as an early Christmas gift to the children, most of whom have been rehabilitated from living in the streets.

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From age 17, he started fundraising for the project and managed to secure support from different schools that volunteered to hold a civvies day and channel the funds to his cause. With this initiative he has empowered the children and given them something that they will be able to sustain for a very long time; giving life to the saying “Don’t give a man a fish, teach him how to fish”. The smiles of the children were priceless, as they jumped around and laughed with excitement, whilst the delegates and young people present expressed sentiments of inspiration, pride and solidarity.

In an interview hosted by ‘The Junior Citizen’ with Bonlat after the event, we asked him what his motivation was, and what words of inspiration he wanted to share with other young people. Regarding his motivation, he said “I was really inspired with the passion I had for making change for children that were living in the streets”, and as a word of encouragement to young people, he said, “age is not a barrier, you can do it. It only takes your passion, it only takes your concentration and also… seeking assistance and support from the other relevant people that have the same goal, to achieve a goal; and with that you will never go wrong”.

As much as people may say that this was a drop in the ocean, it is that drop that makes it an ocean! I would like to thank Bonlat for having fewer rhetorical questions and arguments and letting his actions speak for him. We should all take notes and instead of looking to make other nations lands of honey and milk we should all start at home and make our back yards our gold-mines!!!!!!!

 

By Cynthia Victor

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