Nelson Mandela Day

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Meaning of 67 Minutes

"Mr Mandela has spent 67 years making the world a better place. We're asking you for 67 minutes."

Nelson Mandela's birthday is on 18 July, and the call is out for people everywhere to celebrate his birthday by acting on the idea that each person has the power to change the world.


The idea of Mandela Day was inspired by Nelson Mandela at his 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 when he said: "It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now."


The United Nations officially declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009, recognising Mandela’s "values and his dedication to the service of humanity" and acknowledging his contribution "to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world".


By devoting 67 minutes of your time. One minute for every year of Mandela’s public service, people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good.


Take action, inspire change, make every day a Mandela Day. Find out about volunteer opportunities or pledge some of your time. Mandela said at the time of the campaign's launch that he would be "honoured if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation".

How can you spend your 67 minutes on Nelson Mandela Day?

9 things you can do to make a difference with your own 67 minutes:

1. Donate something: Donate blood, your old clothes or your time. There is no better time to get rid of all the boxes gathering dust in your garage or to empty out your closets than on Mandela Day. Many organisations, charities and people in need could use the things you have grown tired of.


2. Hug a granny: Spend some time with the elderly in your community. Many old age homes have reading projects and welcome visitors with open arms. Sit and read to them, ask them to tell you their stories or learn how to knit.


3. Brighten a child’s day: Organise a sporting event, help out at a school in need, become a mentor or help out at a children’s centre. Children’s shelters do wonderful work and try to make life a little easier for the most vulnerable in our communities.


4. Help the homeless: Donate food and blankets to a local organisation or spend some time volunteering in a soup kitchen. There are many people around you in need. Find out what your church or local charities are organising and help them achieve their goals.


5. Support a furry friend: Animal shelters do wonderful work and are great places to volunteer your 67 minutes. Make these helpless and homeless animals’ lives a little happier by donating food or blankets or just some of your time. Shelters often welcome volunteers who would like to walk the dogs or clean the cages. You could even change one furry creature’s entire world by giving them a loving home!


6. Nurture Mother Earth: Clean up the beach or the park, start a recycling project in your home, plant a tree, and start saving water and electricity. There are many ways you can help, and you don’t even have to leave your home. Many organisations are dedicated to saving the environment and you will help make the future a brighter, safer and cleaner place for the next generation.


7. Buy a book: And donate it to a child, school or library that needs it. Spreading literacy and education to those who don’t have easy access to it is a great cause to support on this day of celebration for Madiba.


8. Support a local cause: Join your community or company with a project in your area. Many communities have Facebook pages where they promote and share special projects or organisations. This way you can look for something to do right on your doorstep. There are also many celebrities and radio stations that have various charity drives to support Mandela Day.


9. Make every day Mandela Day! Spread love, kindness and goodwill throughout the rest of the year by making new resolutions and sticking to them! Pledging to make a difference 365 days of the year seems an insurmountable task, but starting small, like getting a piggy bank and collecting coins in your office for a worthy cause can change the life of someone in need.