“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela
A lot can be done in 67 minutes. A quick lunch, final edits on a report, a few sales and perhaps your week’s grocery shopping. But what if those 67 minutes were spent in a more meaningful way? And could this have a positive impact on society in the long run?
On 18 July 2018 organisations, office teams and individuals around South Africa go out and spend 67 minutes in meaningful ways. Why? To celebrate the late Nelson Mandela’s vision and his legacy. He said, “It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all.” And so, through acts of service, South Africans spend 67 minutes on Mandela’s birthday (Mandela Day) serving others to respond to this call for positive change. The number 67 signifies the 67 years Nelson Mandela fought for social justice.
This year, Eiffel Corp spent some time at two different learning institutions, Iphutheng Primary and Ubuntu Football Academy. We specifically chose institutions that are making a difference in the lives of youths through Education, because we believe Education is vital to any child’s future and therefore our nation’s future.
Iphutheng Primary School is located in Alex, Johannesburg. It was founded by missionaries in 1923 and currently has approximately 1200 students from Grade R to Grade 7. The school strives to be an innovative school where every learner and others feel valued, safe and inspired. They are also committed to providing a “functional and modern school that enables quality teaching and learning to protect and promote the right of every learner to quality equitable and relevant education.” They are making such a big difference in the lives of children, who most likely would not have had the same access to this standard of education, were it not for Iphutheng. We commend them for their impact they are having in South African youths’ lives.
For Mandela Day, they identified specific projects that would help their learners, which included covering school books. Our team covered 70 books in 67 minutes. Along with covering books, we also handed out 61 blankets to a selected group of children from the Grade R and Grade 1 classes. We learnt that covering books can be quite the challenge! To learn more about how you can support this school, please see their wish list here.
Ubuntu Football Academy is a professional soccer academy based in Cape Town. This non-profit organisation was initiated in a response to fatherless youth in South Africa. Statistics show that 60% of our children are growing up without a father in their homes. Through professional soccer coaching, Ubuntu aims to mentor and educate the next generation of great African leaders, society-changers and footballers. It was inspirational to learn more about their work.
We joined other local teams and spent time at their residence based in Kommetjie, helping with household chores (cleaning) and garden work. We also collected food donations that were contributed to the residence’s pantry – a big thank you for all the contributions. Our team certainly worked up a sweat in our yellow gloves, scrubbing and weeding away! We also have to thank Freedom Foods who supplied our team with well-deserved lunches. To learn more about Ubuntu Football Academy and how you can be involved, please visit their website.
Spending time with institutions that have such a direct impact on the future of our nation, we are forced to reflect on whether our 67 minutes were “enough”. It is only normal that these kinds of acts of service would evoke a ‘feel-good’ emotion in all who participated, but then we go back to our normal schedules and life carries on. In short, the answer is no. We did not do enough! But as with all things in life, the answer is not as simple as this. If it were, we may as well not participate in these kinds of activities.
But while 67 minutes is clearly not enough to have an impact of positive change – the repercussions of these actions could be. It is the start of change in all who participate. Getting away from our desks and what is important to us and placing ourselves in the shoes of others – this is where the impact lies.
For 67 minutes South Africans roll up their sleeves and work to improve the lives of others. For some this won’t make any difference. But for others this has an impact on how we see others. For organisations, it brings awareness that could open doors to new opportunities. But not only that, these acts of service (hopefully) show gratitude towards their daily efforts to making a difference. And if this small act of recognition gives some motivation to those who need it the most, we are contributing (even if it is in a minor way) to positive change.