This is reinforced by Nelson Mandela’s inspirational call for everyone to contribute to addressing the world’s social injustices by devoting 67 minutes of their time to bettering the lives of those less fortunate.
Various Aurecon offices celebrated Mandela Day in their own way this year, as can be seen from the following examples:
Emphasis on sustainability at Tshwane
A group of Aurecon employees from the Tshwane office devoted their day to helping at African Blessings in Bronkhorstspruit, a highly successful welfare organisation that provides local communities with produce from food gardening; a children’s early learning centre and a shelter for needy children, as well as an animal farm. Staff spent fun time with the children and then worked in the vegetable garden. A second group of employees focused on conservation at Struben Bird Sanctuary, clearing alien vegetation and cleaning the surrounding area.
Johannesburg shows concern for those affected by HIV
Showing their concern for children with or affected by HIV/AIDS, Johannesburg office staff visited the Thuthuzela Aids Community Centre. The company donated non-perishable foodstuffs, toiletries, hygiene products and blankets to add to the cash donation that staff had collected.
Cultivating civic pride in Cape Town
The iKhaya le Langa organisation based in Langa, Cape Town’s oldest township, has various programmes aimed at developing more vibrant, cohesive communities. Facilitated by the organisation, Aurecon staff joined forces with volunteers from the local community in a drive to clean up the neighbourhood. Aurecon supplied safety gloves and brooms, and provided a well-earned lunch for all the volunteer workers.
Focus on literacy at Port Elizabeth
Recognising the importance of literacy as the foundation for a better future, Port Elizabeth office employees spent Mandela Day at the Shine Literacy Centre with children from local communities. Fruit was distributed and a donation of books was handed over by Aurecon, as well as a canopy structure that formed an extension to the shelter and gave access to the library.
Nurturing the needy at Bloemfontein
The Bloem Shelter in Bloemfontein cares for the homeless and helpless of all ages and helps them find a better life, especially for young women with children. The local Aurecon office donated non-perishable food, vegetables and meat to the shelter. Staff also collected money to buy school shoes for the children.
Kimberley helps feed the homeless
A team from Aurecon’s Kimberley office celebrated Mandela Day at Loreto Park, with women and children who were being looked after by the ACVV welfare organisation (originally known as the ‘Afrikaanse Christelike Vrouverening’ – the oldest welfare organisation in South Africa). Staff bought bread and ingredients to make a nutritious soup, which they served to over 200 hungry individuals.
Preparing food for the needy at George
The Life Community Centre in George provides a shelter for orphans and distributes food to neighbouring crèches, clinics and other shelters. The Aurecon office in George partnered with local community newspaper, the George Herald, to donate fruit and prepare sandwiches, which were distributed by the Centre to shelters for the disadvantaged in Thembalethu, Conville and Phambili. Some members of the Aurecon office also helped to refurbish the local SPCA facilities with a much-needed coat of paint.
East London focused on careers
For Mandela Day, Aurecon staff at the East London office focused their attention on 40 Grade 11 learners from local schools in Mooiplaas, who already participate in the Aurecon PROTEC project (Programme for Technological Careers). The project provides tuition in maths, science and technology on Saturdays to prepare young people from disadvantaged communities to embark on careers in science, engineering and technology. The Aurecon engineers gave motivational presentations encouraging learners to take pride in their studies and settle for nothing less than excellence in all their endeavours.
These extra activities in celebration of Mandela Day reminded everyone at Aurecon of one of Madiba’s very apt and often quoted sayings: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, it is what difference have we made in the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”.
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