International Mandela Day is a day that is celebrated internationally with people giving of their time in service to honour our revered statesman and icon, but for UCKG's Stop Suffering Help Centre and Women in Action, a group of pastor's wives, every day is a day devoted to community projects and helping to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
In the weeks around Tata Madiba's 94th birthday, teams of volunteers were involved in numerous outreach initiatives with organisations with which they have established ongoing relationships. Here are some recent projects:
A team of Women in Action (WiA) donned yellow gloves and armed with cleaning materials set about an early spring clean of the Abraham Kriel Childcare Home in Langlaagte. The staff caring for these children do not have time nor energy to blitz those hard to reach corners, so the WiA moved furniture, dusted behind difficult to reach corners, scoured baths, polished floors and generally gave the home a facelift.
WiA spent time at the Home of Hope in Kensington, establishing a sustainable vegetable garden and planting colourful seedlings to brighten the outside area. This home is a shelter for girls who have been exploited or abused on the risky "playgrounds" of Berea and Hillbrow. Here they are welcomed, accepted and valued and given a family where they belong.
WiA teams paid tribute to the medical staff and nurses as well as the administrative teams who care for patients in the oncology wards at the hospitals in Johannesburg and Cape Town serving staff a healthy breakfast and treating them to a pampering hand massages before they started on their long and emotionally draining day of supporting adults and children through the cancer treatment journey. Everyone acknowledged the difference "the pink ladies" make in the lives of others through their selfless service.
WiA visited the Nomathamsanqa Primary School in Port Elizabeth where absenteeism amongst female learners is a concern as many of them do not attend school during their menstrual cycle. All girls from age 10 attended a presentation which explained the development of women's bodies and what they could expect as they approached puberty. Health and hygiene was discussed and personal hygiene products were given to the girls.
WiA in East London visited the residents of the Eldorado Old Age Home and learned again that in giving, we receive. Volunteers served sandwiches, muffins and cake and spent time with each person, offering counselling if requested and gave them beautifully wrapped roses with messages of encouragement to uplift them.
WiA in Kimberley visited the Lerato Place of Safety giving the employees and children a celebration meal and providing entertainment for them. Showing an interest in their lives and spending some time with them is a gift in itself, but the joy expressed by the children when they were given a new warm blanket, was a blessing for both the giver and the recipient.
The Stop Suffering Help Centre (SSHC) continued with its weekly feeding schemes, serving 200 bowls of steaming soup and bread donated by the DF Bakery to squatter camps, informal settlements and communities throughout the country. During the week of Nelson Mandela's birthday 1 400 cups of soup were served and 210 000 condoms were distributed at ongoing HIV/Aids awareness campaigns in different communities in Gauteng.
Following a fire which swept through the informal settlement of Diepsloot on 18 July, SSHC volunteers donated food parcels, clothes and blankets and served soup and bread to the destitute residents.
In Rustenburg, The UCKG team organised a gospel fun day for the children at the Khutlwonong Orphanage and School for Deaf Children, providing a variety of entertainment for children of different ages. The younger children enjoyed a sing along, games and a puppet show while the older ones participated in sporting activities. Refreshments were provided and pastors prayed with the young people and left them with inspirational messages.
Godllywood's Sisterhood and V-Women, groups of women from the UCKG, are actively involved in diverse outreach projects, dedicating time and giving donations to different communities throughout the year. They visit Homes for the Aged, support and encourage young women in homes or places of safety and spend time with disabled children each month. On Saturday 21 July, a group visited the Soweto Home for the Aged in White City, Jabavu and the Queen Alexander Home for the Aged. Others visited the Ezibeleni School for Disabled Children in Thokoza where they gave the children a party and a beanie and scarf to help keep them warm during winter. A group in Pretoria visited the Tshwane Home of Hope - a safe haven for teenage girls who have faced difficult family circumstances. A group from Tembisa, visited the Tumelo Home for Children.
This is a typical calendar of events for a week in the lives of the UCKG volunteers where every day IS a Mandela Day.
For further information, please contact Nametso Mofokeng at the church's public relations department on 011 224 3400 or email .