BE THE CHANGE

In Flight Magazine - - IN THIS ISSUE - { TEXT: SUP­PLIED | IM­AGES © SUP­PLIED & ISTOCKPHOTO.COM }

IN 2009, THE UN GEN­ERAL ASSEM­BLY OF­FI­CIALLY DE­CLARED 18TH JULY NEL­SON MAN­DELA DAY AND EACH YEAR ON THIS DAY – MADIBA’S BIRTH­DAY – PEO­PLE ACROSS THE GLOBE CEL­E­BRATE HIS LEGACY THROUGH SELF­LESS ACTS. BUT THIS YEAR IS DIF­FER­ENT. THIS YEAR WE CEL­E­BRATE THE GREAT MAN’S 100TH BIRTH­DAY SO IT’S THE PER­FECT TIME TO DIG DEEPER AND DIS­COVER NEW WAYS TO HELP OUR FEL­LOW MAN.

But if that’s not enough of a rea­son to be a do-gooder, con­sider that stud­ies have shown that peo­ple who sup­port oth­ers live hap­pier, longer lives than those who don’t. In other words, it’s good for your health to help oth­ers.

And if you’re won­der­ing where you can help, start by fig­ur­ing out what causes are close to your heart. Are you pas­sion­ate about chil­dren? Ed­u­ca­tion? Ac­cess to de­cent health­care? An­i­mals? Con­ser­va­tion?

Here are some ideas on a few causes that could have a mas­sive im­pact this year. So let’s pledge to make this year – the year Nel­son Man­dela would have turned 100 – one where we pay it for­ward and be the change we want to see in the world.

HELP­ING EV­ERY­ONE HAVE AC­CESS TO CLEAN WA­TER

This is one of the year’s big news sto­ries with heavy wa­ter re­stric­tions in place in sev­eral prov­inces.Thank­fully, in Cape Town, peo­ple have re­ally played their par t – so much so, that it looks like the taps won’t run dry just yet. Still, clean wa­ter is still not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble for far too many peo­ple.

Con­sider the fact that hun­dreds of thou­sands of South Africans al­ready live with­out ac­cess to wa­ter. Wa­ter-borne dis­eases kill more chil­dren in Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa than HIV/AIDS, measles and malaria com­bined. In fact, al­most 6,000 peo­ple die ev­ery day from con­sum­ing un­safe drink­ing wa­ter.The ma­jor­ity are chil­dren.

The Ro­tary Club in Sea Point, Cape Town, has made it their mis­sion to turn this around through their SafeWater Project.The project aims to pro­vide cost-ef­fec­tive fil­ters to im­pov­er­ished com­mu­ni­ties who have no ac­cess to clean and safe wa­ter. A sim­ple way to sup­port this ini­tia­tive is through the sale of bracelets (re­late.org.za) made by the Re­late Trust. Each bracelet pur­chased is equiv­a­lent to pur­chas­ing 2,000 litres of clean and safe wa­ter.

READ RIGHT

The 2016 Progress in In­ter­na­tional Read­ing Lit­er­acy Study (Pirls) re­port re­leased late last year re­vealed a statis­tic that left many fear­ing for the state of our chil­dren: Al­most 80 % of Grade 4 pupils failed to reach the low in­ter­na­tional bench­mark for read­ing and com­pre­hen­sion for that grade, and lack the fun­da­men­tal skills for fur­ther learn­ing.

The ef­fects this will have on the fu­ture work­force and the econ­omy goes with­out say­ing. We need to start mak­ing this right – now.

Shine Lit­er­acy (shinelit­er­acy.org.za) is one or­gan­i­sa­tion that’s go­ing to work on this is­sue.Their fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing the read­ing, writ­ing and speak­ing skills of Grade 2 and Grade 3 chil­dren from low-in­come com­mu­ni­ties has al­ready seen re­sults: In 2016, 70 %

of chil­dren at­tend­ing Shine’s cen­tres were at risk in terms of their lit­er­acy. Six months later that fig­ure dropped to 17 %.

With the help of a net­work of over 900 vol­un­teers work­ing to­wards build­ing a na­tion of read­ers, Shine Lit­er­acy pro­grammes are ac­tive in 66 schools and serve over 4,500 chil­dren across South Africa.

You can sup­port their cause by do­nat­ing ei­ther your time or money to one of their Shine cen­tres.You can also get a Shine Lit­er­acy bracelet at selected Wool­worths stores na­tion­wide or at Re­late’s on­line shop (re­late.org.za).

You can also sup­port the Nel­son Man­dela School Li­brary Project (more at re­late.org.za) whose goal is to re­fur­bish ship­ping con­tain­ers into li­braries. More than 80,000 chil­dren ben­e­fit daily from the project which has been on­go­ing since 2011.

LAST­ING CHANGE

South Africa’s high un­em­ploy­ment rate has rip­ple ef­fects through­out the coun­try and it high­lights the im­por­tance of the state as well as pri­vate cor­po­rate busi­nesses to step in. One such or­gan­i­sa­tion that has made a dif­fer­ence is The Re­late Trust, a proudly 100 % not-for-profit so­cial en­ter­prise which pre­dom­i­nantly sells hand­made beaded and woven bracelets to raise money for char­i­ties glob­ally, while cre­at­ing jobs for peo­ple in low in­come com­mu­ni­ties.

In the last three years alone, Re­late has raised more than R26 mil­lion for causes in health, ed­u­ca­tion, con­ser­va­tion, so­cial up­lift­ment, and chil­dren’s and women’s em­pow­er­ment, while rais­ing close to R50 mil­lion since it be­came a char­i­ta­ble trust in 2010. And at the same time, at-risk com­mu­ni­ties are given an em­ploy­ment life­line through jobs mak­ing these bracelets.You can find their bracelets in re­tail­ers across the coun­try.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.re­late.org.za.

Let’s pledge to make this year – the year Nel­son Man­dela would have turned 100 – one where we pay it for­ward and be the change we want to see in the world.

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