SEATTLE, Washington — Philanthropist and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela did much for his country and people. In addition to being a vocal human rights activist, he created charities and programs for South Africans in need. After his release from prison and the subsequent presidential election, Mandela set up a network of charities that have continued running even after his death, carrying on his legacy and vision. Here are three examples of Nelson Mandela’s charity work.
Nelson Mandela’s Children Fund
To help end the suffering of children in poverty, Nelson Mandela donated a third of his presidential salary to start Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. This organization strives to change how society treats its children in Africa. It strives to give these children dignity and a voice. The Fund officially opened in 1995. It raised almost $2.5 million and funded more than 780 projects in just the first few years of service. Since then, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund has expanded to include education and children’s hospitals, continuously aiming to improve the children’s conditions and lives.
Mandela’s Work to Fight HIV/Aids
Another example of Nelson Mandela’s charity work is his fight against HIV/AIDS. Towards the end of his life, Nelson Mandela became one of the world’s most effective and important campaigners against HIV/AIDS. By the year 2000, South Africa was the most HIV-affected country in the world. More than four million people were suffering from this illness. Mandela used his influence to combat the AIDS epidemic through moving speeches and public visits to activists.
For a time, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund served as an advocacy agency in the intervention of HIV/AIDS. The organization partnered with the Department of Social Development and civil organizations to create a comprehensive response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic plaguing South Africa. Mandela also launched a campaign to declare a global AIDS emergency and pushed for anti-retroviral drugs to be more available to South Africans with the disease. Between 2005 and 2011, the number of AIDS-related deaths fell by 32 percent, in part, thanks to Mandela’s advocacy.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation
Mandela founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 1999 after he stepped down from his presidency. It is a non-profit organization that strives to carry on Nelson Mandela’s charity work and legacy. The organization has also become a memorial center for Mandela, keeping records and archives of his life and advocacy work.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation distributes this knowledge to the public in hopes of keeping its founder’s legacy alive. The organization’s key objective is to continue Mandela’s work to find viable solutions to the problems facing humanity. It values using dialogue and advocacy and focusses on alleviating and resolving the same issues as Nelson Mandela did in his life.
Nelson Mandela’s charity work has helped millions of South Africans suffering from poverty, disease and human rights among others. The organizations he started have continued pursuing his vision and advocating in his name. They honor his memory as an inspiration to all of South Africa.
– Yael Litenatsky
Photo: Google Images