Various non-governmental organisations including schools gathered at the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban on Wednesday in celebration of the late Nelson Mandela’s centenary through an initiative called ‘100 ways over 100 days’.
The initiative, which is aimed at transforming lives of the poor in the inner city of Durban, is championed by the Denis Hurley Centre working with other NGOs such as ‘I Care’, an organisation caring for street children and ‘Hope For Winter’.
The centre, which is located at the heart of the Durban Cathedral, has been doing community work through different initiatives including feeding schemes for the poor, shelter for refugees, and many other community upliftment initiatives.
The director of the centre Raymond Perrier said the aim of the event was to encourage people to volunteer and do community work.
â€œIt’s 50 days before Mandela’s birthday and we want to encourage people to volunteer not just on Mandela Day but throughout these 100 days. Different organisations came together and discussed what each needs [to do] and how we can all work together to achieve it,â€ he said.
The 100 ways over 100 days initiative starts from 30 May to 6 September this year.
Activist and former Member of Parliament, Ela Gandhi, said events like this are important as they raise awareness and teach people about ways they can bring about change in communities. “This centre is doing so much work for the community and bringing about awareness of the plight of the people and trying to meet the needs through community,” she said.
Gandhi also said it was important for people to learn that they can do great work through community involvement. “This shows us that we don’t always have to be dependent on the government to meet certain needs. We as the people can make the changes ourselves. And every change that we make is important because it’s one step closer to liberating their entire nation,” she said.
Among other groups who attended the event were different schools from Durban central. A 16-year-old pupil from Holy Family High School, Sinethemba Thethwayo, said it’s important for people to volunteer and help the needy. “At school we are taught that for one to get joy it’s important to give and help those who are less fortunate, and nothing warms my heart like seeing homeless people smile when we come around here to volunteer and help them out,” she said.
The organisations have appealed for donations of any kind from everyone willing to assist.