Inspiring aid for children in need

KIDS STUFF: Robyn Brown shares a story with children at the Wavecrest Educare Centre. Photo: Provided

KIDS STUFF: Robyn Brown shares a story with children at the Wavecrest Educare Centre. Photo: Provided

This article first appeared in the Sunday Times on July 14, 2013

NELSON Mandela’s love for children has inspired a Vodacom change the world volunteer to spend Mandela Day this week reading and playing with a group from a poor community.

Robyn Brown has already been doing her bit for charity as one of 20 volunteers in the initiative, in association with Times Media Group, that allows professionals to work with a charity of their choice for a year and be paid for it.

Brown, an outreach programme facilitator at Bright Start, will be reading storybooks and enjoying games with the children at the Wavecrest Educare Centre, which caters for 105 children from an informal settlement near Hout Bay.

Her chosen charity, Bright Start, offers educational support to children from disadvantaged homes. it will help her with a campaign  to encourage Cape Town people to donate books and toys for Wavecrest.

Another volunteer, Norma Young, communication officer for LEAP Science and Maths Schools, said a quiz show called “Are you smarter than a LEAP grader” would put five of their pupils against adult members of various corporations. Other volunteers who are going all out to do their bit for Mandela Day include:

  • Caitlin Longamn has orgainsed massages for elderly residents of Park Care Centre in Johannesburg;
  • Michael Stevens, from Jumping Kids Prosthetic Fund, in association with Avis, will donate chalkboards to rural schools around the country;
  • Kilptown Youth Programme’s Stephanie Venter will organise eye tests for 300 pupils, because poor eyesight might affect their ability to do their homework and study;
  • A five-ton food collection container has been placed at Benmore Gardens shopping centre in northern Johannesburg by the Afrika Tikkun organisation, whose volunteer, Naazneen Tarmohamed, will distribute food to needy people; and,
  • Alta Brown Steenkamp, who works for the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, is organising bikers from Gauteng to Limpopo to build a wendy house, playground, vegetable garden and fence for a Limpopo orphanage.

“Mandela once said education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” Brown said. “So I’m happy to be fulfilling the spirit and purpose of Mandela Day.

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Witsies celebrate Mandela day

CELEBRATIONS broke out yesterday when students and workers of the university gathered on the Great Hall steps to commemorate Mandela’s 95th birthday.

Close to 1000 people of the university circled around the Bambanani Brass Band from Alexander, who played for the choir of people that sang happy birthday to our “Tata”, as South Africans lovingly call him.

The band consisted of ten members which entertained the crowd by playing trumpets and drums. The band also danced a choreographed pantsula piece to add to their performance. The Brass Band also sang a hymn and got the crowd involved through clapping their hands.

The Wits choir also made an appearance where they took centre stage a sang happy birthday to Madiba with the crowd. It was a nostalgic moment for some as seen on people’s faces when they wished the father of our nation, by closing their eyes.

Cleaners were in abundance and students could be seen among them singing and clapping their hands in joy as the band played vibrant sounds through their brass instruments.

Witsies celebrated this special day which is International Mandela day by joining in and participating in acknowledging the legacy that is Madiba.

People also seemed to be extra for filled by the celebrations that Mandela is still alive today, despite many days of anxiety around his health, people indulged celebrating his life as well.