Celebrate Mandela Day and make a difference in South Africa
Projects Abroad calls for volunteers to honor Mandela’s legacy by participating in a worthwhile project and giving back to South African communities
NEW YORK – July 6 2016 – Every year on July 18th, thousands of people around the world answer the call to devote 67 minutes of their time to inspire change and help others on Nelson Mandela International Day. These 67 minutes represent the decades that Nelson Mandela dedicated to serving others as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, a global peacemaker, and the first democratically elected president of South Africa. This year, international volunteer organization Projects Abroad is calling for volunteers to celebrate his legacy by aiding underprivileged communities in South Africa.
Since the first democratic election in 1994, South Africa has undergone rapid development and has a thriving tourism industry. Unfortunately, unemployment levels are high and the equality gap is wide. The additional support and assistance that volunteers can provide becomes critical, comments Tom Pastorius, Head of Global Recruitment for Projects Abroad.
“We started implementing sustainable development programs in South Africa because we saw there was a genuine need, especially in the townships. Our volunteers have done incredible work since then, from building a safe and secure day care center for impoverished families to send their children to, to mentoring troubled youth through sports. They are going above and beyond for the South African communities they serve, and we are proud that their efforts and dedication are honoring Mandela’s legacy and making a difference every day.”
Projects Abroad has several different projects based in Cape Town that volunteers can join throughout the year:
Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This is something Projects Abroad has always taken to heart at the Care Project in Cape Town, where volunteers work in kindergartens and day care centers. Each volunteer focuses on increasing literacy levels, promoting early childhood development, and offering emotional support and care, so that children are ready for school and less likely to fall behind with their development.
PAHRO, the Human Rights Office run by Projects Abroad, provides legal representation and advice for those unable to afford legal assistance and raises awareness of human rights across communities. Most of the cases that PAHRO works with involve domestic violence, labor law, and refugee rights. This is a great opportunity for volunteers to assist those who lack the resources to help themselves while learning about human rights first-hand in South Africa.
Providing local communities with safe spaces is the primary goal of the Building Project in Lavender Hill, Cape Town. After building a day care center, toilets, an enclosed washing area, and a secure playground, volunteers are now working on constructing an eco-friendly community center. In the future, Projects Abroad hopes that this center will become a place where the community can gather and use for the arts, culture, dance, drama, sports, and more.
Projects in South Africa are available from as little as one week and volunteers choose their own start and end dates throughout the year. For more information, please visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-destinations/volunteer-south-africa.
Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.
Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 30 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.
For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.org