Anne Frank said:” No one has ever become poor from giving.”

Today is Mandela Day, the day we as South Africans and many nations across the world remember the legacy that Nelson Mandela left behind. The day was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on the 18th of July, 2009 via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly. The idea of the day is to devote 67 minutes of your day to changing someone’s life for the better. Why 67 minutes you may ask? It is one minute for every year Mr Mandela spent in Public Service.

Let’s look at different ways in which we as fortunate human beings living in Cape Town (Yes, living in Cape Town makes you very fortunate!) can help those who need a helping hand and help keep the memory of Madiba alive. I have mentioned an animal shelter and children’s hospital , and today I would like to look at how else you can help during your time at Oxford English Academy.

The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children is a centre for women and children who are survivors of abuse and they provide safe accommodation, childcare services, legal advice and research in gender-based violence. Volunteers can visit children over the weekends, donate food or merely help out in the garden.

Nazareth House in the city bowl is a registered Child And Youth Care Facility, who can accommodate up to 64 children. The children arrive at the facility through the courts. They do however ask for a minimum of three months’ commitment from their volunteers. Other options are supporting the charity shop or making a donation. Perhaps check out their wish list on their website. Any small contribution makes a difference.

If you have limited time available, say just a week at the end of your stay, Africa Jam is an inspiring organisation working with the youth of Cape Town. Their aim is to teach life skills, leadership training and basically empower young people by providing them with opportunities to develop their talents. You have the option to be an after-school project volunteer or even a camp volunteer.

Needless to say there are many other organisations that will appreciate your help.

While travelling abroad a person gets given so incredibly much by life. The experience enriches you forever, and like I mentioned before, these moments and memories can never be taken away from you. Living in a foreign country for whatever span of time will change you forever, which is why I strongly believe that making even the smallest positive change while you are there will only add to what you will eventually take away with you.