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Mr. Ruphus Papole of the Arise and Shine Project in Limpopo province, South Africa.
by Claire Hawkridge 
Heifer International South Africa

The 18th of July is the birthday of former South African president, Nelson Mandela. On that day, thousands of South Africans, and many people around the world, will dedicate 67 minutes or even a whole day to volunteering in the service of others to mark Nelson Mandela International Day. In 2011, Heifer International South Africa is inviting volunteers to be part of our work, fighting hunger and poverty and caring for the Earth.

Nelson Mandela dedicated 67 years of his life to creating and later leading a democratic South Africa. Mandela Day (Nelson Mandela International Day) has been created to recognise his contribution and, perhaps more importantly, to encourage every South African – and many others around the world – to honour and remember his life by getting involved in projects that help others. Heifer International South Africa will be running two Mandela Day volunteer projects.

Read to Feed Mandela Day Challenge
Reading is a crucial part of developing a strong, successful nation. Read to Feed as a programme runs at many schools in South Africa and encourages children to read books while also raising funds to support the work of Heifer International South Africa. On Mandela Day, Heifer International South Africa is inviting adults to get involved in Read to Feed, too. Volunteers will dedicate one hour to reading to children at pre-schools and early childhood development centres across the country. Companies and individuals involved in this challenge will find sponsors for the hour they give to Read to Feed and this money will go to support Heifer International South Africa.

Plant a Tree for Hunger on Mandela Day

The Sukuma Project is a new project of Heifer International South Africa. It is funded by Heifer International. This July, the 172 project families will be receiving fruit trees to plant in their gardens. Planting that many fruit trees is a big job. On 18 July 2011, volunteers will be joining the Heifer International South Africa staff and students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal to help the project members plant their trees. Volunteers are required to organise their own transport to the project (roughly 3 hours from the city of Durban). Heifer International South Africa is hoping to have many willing hands to help plant the trees that will provide fruit and income for these poor families in Mabheleni Village. Project members will also be growing vegetables and raising chickens as part of the Sukuma Project.

Nelson Mandela’s contribution to the freedom and lives of so many people is well-known. Heifer International South Africa is looking forward to the opportunity, on Mandela Day 2011, to share with others the work that we do every day to further contribute to the lives and secure the future of every South African.

Full details on these volunteering opportunities can be found on Heifer International South Africa’s website and the Greater Good South Africa website

Author

Casey Neese