International Volunteer Day (IVD) mandated by the UN General Assembly, is held each year on 5 December. It is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.
2017 Theme: Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, its brain-child the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in collaboration with the United Nations’ Volunteering team hosted a Volunteer Recognition ceremony at the newly built Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
Volunteers were addressed and certificates of appreciation handed over by the Fund’s CEO Ms Sibongile Mkhabela, with words of encouragement she quoted the former statesman Mr. Nelson Mandela; “in the words of our father Mr Nelson Mandela, when asked if the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund will die when he dies, he answered by saying; ‘as long as there are good men and women there will continue to be a Children’s Fund.’ Nelson Mandela was talking about people like you and I. Today we celebrate volunteers who are here today and those who have over the years been supportive to our cause and afforded us the opportunity to reach where we are today as the Children’s Fund and the Children’s Hospital. “
One of the volunteers present was Mr. Thabi Poopedi, whose life has been dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives. Mr. Poopedi is a young Management Consultant at Accenture who is originally from Limpopo. The volunteering spirit was inherited from his parents and since a very tender age has been making a difference in people’s lives.
He is currently working in an organisation called Oratilwe which he established and is involved in various projects around the country which include a Soup Kitchen in Pretoria’s Church Square, which caters for the homeless and a Place of Safety in Polokwane, where they normally host talent shows for children, have a small braais and hand over gifts to children around Christmas Time in order to show love and appreciation to the little souls.
“Growing up I noticed how my parents gave their time and were always committed to the community, my mother was a qualified nurse and could have taken a better job in the city but she opted to work in a township clinic just outside Polokwane to make a difference in the community, this is where my spirit of giving and volunteerism was brewed” - Mr. Thabi Poopedi concluded.