In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared 18 July as “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to peace and freedom.
On 18 July 2023, in celebration of Mandela Day, the University of Pretoria’s Department of Library Services (UP DLS)’s Community Engagement and Outreach Focus Group had a Mandela Day Project which was held at the New Eersterus, F1, in the deep rural area of Hammanskraal. This project was aimed at giving back to disadvantaged communities.
The group donated food parcels and sanitary towels to eight families identified in the area. These eight families consisted of fifty-four (54) members in total, twenty-two (22) males and thirty-two (32) females. These eight families were chosen due to their unique situation and tough means of survival. The families are child and women-headed families and their means of survival is through the financial help of child and elderly support grants.
The purpose of the project was to give back to the community as well as participate in community engagement and share educational information about what UP is and what we are doing at the UP DLS.
As we are contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); we urged the community members to start more sustainable practices such as growing vegetable gardens for their benefit while also participating in an active lifestyle to improve their health and quality of life. Thus, contributing to the eradication of hunger (SDG 2) and contributing to the health and well-being of citizens (SDG 3), especially women and children.
The success of the project is attributed to the Department of Library Services management and staff who contributed immensely; it is greatly appreciated. We urge colleagues to support these initiatives irrespective of where they are and who has started it, they are for the benefit of the communities. The beneficiaries also extended their gratitude and wished us well.
DLS Library staff packing boxes to donate to underprivileged families.
DLS Library staff and happy recipients after the donation was made.