The children’s ward at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Umtata, has been transformed into a bright and comfortable haven for its patients. The ward officially reopened on Mandela Day, 18 July 2015, with MySchool representatives and the Woolworths Umtata store employees spending their 67 minutes playing and reading books with the children in their new playroom.
Ndaba Mandela, founder of Africa Rising, the NGO running the Mandela Day activities in Umtata, says, “I believe that Mandela Day not only brings people closer but it also allows all of us the opportunity to understand the challenges that the less privileged face on a daily basis. It is very important to give back to your community no matter who you are. Our greatest icon fought for freedom and human dignity and we need to continue his work in order to create a better society. Together with our partners we can make sure that such a human spirit is never forgotten and continues to live on for the benefit of our children and future generations”.
The much-needed revamp was funded by MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and supported by Woolworths, as one of the opportunities that Woolworths has created for its employees to make a difference. The cold, stark wards were transformed into vibrant and child-friendly areas which now include a playroom stocked with educational toys and books, four new TVs, fresh bed linen, curtains and playful wallpaper to lift the children’s spirits.
“Being in hospital is a traumatic experience for anyone but even more so for a child, so helping them to cope better by making their environment bright and cheerful is part of their recovery,” says Helene Brand, MySchool’s CSI Manager. “With the help of Africa Rising we identified two children’s wards—one of which is the burns unit—where children unfortunately have to spend a couple of weeks recovering from their injuries. They desperately needed some fun, colour and stimulation. The funding of this project is made possible by people who have been swiping their MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet cards every time they shop at Woolworths and out other partner stores.”
‘We appreciate and are delighted to be part of this partnership with MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and Woolworths especially as we celebrate Mandela Day’ says Nomalanga Makwedini, CEO: Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital. ‘Tatu’Mandela loved children so much and he believed that education and reading are two of the most important things for children so we are especially grateful for the books that have been donated.”
As our greatest icon said “to be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, but to live in a way that enhances and protects the freedom of others” – Nelson Mandela.