On behalf of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) Board of Trustees and Staff, we mourn the loss of our servant leader, Mr Achmat Dangor. Our founder, Mr Nelson Mandela, handpicked Achmat to lead the Fund, the first legacy organisation established by Madiba in his presidency. Achmat would become the second Chief Executive Officer to lead the Fund from 1999 to 2002, during a turbulent period in our country.
At that stage, the Fund was still in its infancy and its mission was immense, as our country and our children had been gravely impacted by the HIV and AIDS epidemic. This was a critical time where Achmat’s leadership played a vital role to respond to the devastating impact the virus had on the lives of children and their families.
Achmat steered the Fund with zeal, compassion and agility. His jovial spirit complemented that of Mr Nelson Mandela. It is therefore, only befitting to describe Achmat’s leadership in Madiba’s own words: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Mr Nelson Mandela
He fortified Madiba’s legacy through his leadership footprints when he served as the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation (2007 to 2013) and a member of the Board of Trustees at the Mandela Rhodes Foundation (2013 to 2019).
Achmat had an immeasurable impact on our lives. We are forever indebted and honoured to have been a part of his incredible life story. We feel your pain and mourn with you, Dangor Family.
May your family find peace and comfort knowing he was loved and will be missed dearly. May Achmat’s soul rest in peace.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
Nelson Mandela wanted to create a safer world for our children to be healthy & thrive. Covid-19 has forced our children & those who care for them into vulnerable states. The Embassy of France in South Africa is therefore raising funds to protect vulnerable communities through the work of NMCF.
On 14 July, the Embassy of France in South Africa celebrated Bastille Day (National French Holiday) in partnership with Trace TV. Under the leadership of French ambassador Aurélien Lechevallier and to mark the occasion, the Embassy hosted a virtual fundraising initiative to benefit the work of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, including its flagship project, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
This event coincided with the Fund’s 25 year anniversary and international Mandela Day under the theme #ServelikeMadiba. Inspired by former president Mr Nelson Mandela’s legacy of giving, the theme aims to encourage philanthropy and a message of being of service to one’s community and society.
We are asking our community to #ServelikeMadiba and help us raise R500 000 for this initiative.The donations from this campaign will support the following activities:
This campaign will run until 31 July 2020. Play your part by donating towards this initiative on the NMCH’s GivenGain platform which can be found here.
Remembering our Founder Nelson Mandela
We awoke to a grey sun and a heavy cloud of grief, as we learned of the passing of our dearest Zindzi Mandela - one of our fiercest of champions.
As trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund), Zindzi served on our board with the greatest passion.
Our hearts are laden with sorrow as we try but fail to reconcile this loss that will leave an indelible mark on the Board, management and the staff of the Fund.
Zindzi’s dedication to improving the lives of children on our continent was exemplary and an indivisible part of her staunch advocacy for human rights.
Zindzi, belonged to all of us. As a historic figure in her own right, she wrote her name in the history books as an activist against the apartheid regime and a young fearless leader during Nelson Mandela’s years in prison.
In our hard-won democracy she continued to serve our people representing the Republic of South Africa to the world, including in her role as Ambassador to Denmark before her untimely passing.
We will always remember her fondly for her commitment to Madiba’s vision, our founder, to secure a better future for our children and youth.
Today, we stand on her shoulders and her valuable guidance and selfless devotion to furthering the cause of the Fund.
As we mark 25 years since our inception, there is no doubt in our minds, that our organisation would not be able to count its successes without her significant and immeasurable contribution.
We could always rely on Zindzi to answer our calls, to lend her name to our work and to invite others to support our mission.
It is deeply saddening that this loss occurred on the anniversary of another tragic day when Madiba’s son Thembekile died in a car accident in 1969. July is also a time when, Madiba’s legacy organisations, honour the memory of our founder during what is widely known as Mandela Month.
We have been robbed of a chance to remember these moments and of a life that still had so much potential.
Our prayers are with the Mandela family at this difficult time including her children she loved so dearly. Our thoughts are also with her friends and loved ones.
May her wonderful soul rest in peace. Lala ngoxolo beloved Zindzi. Lala kahle, Madlomo Sopitsho, Yem Yem, Bhomoyi, Ngqolomsila, Hala, Zondwa zintshaba zingazumenzanto, Vela Bambhentsele, Madiba odiba indonga zidibane!
With Love and Appreciation,
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
On 21 June, we revisit a critical milestone for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund’s flagship project, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. On the day, three years ago, NMCH (now the second dedicated children’s hospital in Southern Africa), admitted its first patients.
Founded by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, NMCH is a direct expression of Nelson Mandela’s profound love for children. NMCH is a 200-bed specialist paediatric referral hospital in Parktown Johannesburg, providing services including: Cardiology, Renal (including Dialysis), General Paediatric Surgery, Neurosurgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) and critical care in the form of Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive Care Units. These are supported by Radiology, Anaesthesiology and Allied Health Services.
Join us in wishing staff, patients and families at the hospital a happy third-year anniversary. Watch the moment in the video below. And click here to learn more about the facility.
Themes of discussion:
TOPIC 1 : COVID 19 YOUTH SAFETY
TOPIC 2: COVID 19 YOUTH SAFETY MESSAGES
Development of Safety Messages
KWA-ZULU NATAL:THOLULWAZI UZIVIKELE
LIMPOPO:UMTAPO CENTRE MAKHADO
GAUTENG: AFRIKA TIKKUN UTHANDO CENTRE
NEW JERUSALEM CHILDREN’S HOME
WESTERN CAPE: Women on Farms
Below are Drawings and Poems
by NMCF Youth Leadership Secretariat
The Youth Leadership Secretariat (YLS) is a group of passionate youths who aim to leverage Madiba’ values to develop active citizens amongst children and youth, who will drive change in their communities and country. We are embarking on designing innovative interventions and platforms under the NMCF Youth Leadership Programme to educate, develop and support young leaders as they go about transforming their communities and countries. We are thought leaders who wish to lead the way in transforming the narrative imposed on children and youth in South Africa under the slogan, ‘By the youth, For the future’.
Throughout the course of our tenure we wish to assist the Fund with its goal of ‘Changing the way society treats its Children and Youth’ by lobbying and advocating for and with the youth under three main objectives: Promote. Empower. Influence.
Currently we are undergoing an immersive research and stakeholder engagement process, gathering insights on issues faced by the children and youth of South Africa so as to ensure the suitability and effectiveness of the revitalized Youth Leadership Programme.
We kicked off the year on a high note and hosted our first ever meet and greet between the YLS and the Efeng Bacha members in early February.
Efeng Bacha is one of
the youth structures under the Youth Leadership Programme tasked with identifying and addressing social issues mostly affecting children and youth.
The main purpose of the event was to formally introduce the YLS team and the Efeng Bacha advisory board. The event was not only fun; but gave us great insights on the issue’s other members of Efeng Bacha are passionate about.
This event was instrumental in building relationships between the YLS and the members of Efeng Bacha. Since the event, there has been strengthened interactions and communications between the YLS and members of Efeng Bacha.
YLP 2020 Milestones
Khaya Ramoshayi of Efeng Bacha being interviewed on the day of the SONA at eNCA studios about the perspective of the youth on the SONA.
When asked to comment, Khaya had the following to say:
The interview went well despite how little time was allocated as many interviews were scheduled on that particular day. I did however feel like the interview should’ve happened preferable after and with more than one person (interviewee). Highlights in the interview included being asked:
Consequently I’d like to assume awareness on the Children’s Manifesto and the Fund on its own was raised efficiently.
The following is from an excerpt written about the launch:
Media personality and author of “Africa is Open for Business”, Victor Kgomoeswana, was the conversation facilitator for the evening. He questioned Zameer about his motivation for writing the book and tried understanding him better.
Zameer explained his motivation behind writing the book, “I wanted to create an inspirational story using a character that is relatable to the majority of South Africans. I wanted to show that through hard work, discipline, support and some luck, one can rise and succeed. I hope that it is interesting enough to encourage kids to read”.
Ladies of the YLS and the YLP’s Efeng Bacha attending this year’s SLAY Fest, a full day event of innovation, networking and women empowering and learning from one another, with the special treat of gaining knowledge from various industry powerhouses such as Bonang Matheba.
The ladies from Efeng Bach had the following to say after the event:
by Ayabulela Poro
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, a flagship project of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, kicked off the year with various activities at the facility, now the second dedicated children’s hospital in Southern Africa. Family-centred care remains at the heart of the hospital. While continuing to provide care to our most vulnerable, staff at the institution also championed activities aimed at raising awareness around critical illnesses facing children on the continent. This period also marked the launch of a book highlighting the journey of the hospital which began here at the Fund.
One Small Heart at a Time
In February the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital celebrated Congenital Heart Disease Week. To mark the occasion, the Cardiology Department at the hospital, hosted “Wear Red Day” and celebrated with patients and families at the Outpatient Department.
It is estimated that 1 in 120 children are born with heart disease. Head of Department, Professor Hopewell Ntsinjana said that, “Some defects are simple and correctable but if parents wait too long to seek intervention, it can cause irreversible damage. It is important that these defects be repaired with the first year because operations become riskier in older children.”
Over the past year the department has performed over 150 open-heart surgeries. Fundraising is an essential part to ensuring that the department can reach many children in need of similar care.
Read the full story covered by the Rosebank Killarney Gazette:
The journey of a parent who met a “Heart Whisperer”
The commitment of the cardiology department is evident in the party they hosted on Valentine’s Day for the children who had operations at Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. “We have this party for them and their parents to celebrate the children who made it through,” Head of Cardiology, Prof. Ntsinjana explains.
“Children are unique individuals with unique problems and if nobody can speak up for them concerning those problems, we risk walking down a dangerous path. When a child enters the ward, the parents are crying and everybody is distressed. However, once they get well, they are up and about and high-fiving you. That makes it all worth it.”
Carley Opperman, the mother of four-month-old Cara-Lee, calls Prof. Ntsinjana “the heart whisperer”, because “he not only whispered to her heart, but also to mine”.
The family’s paediatrician sent her to the hospital to see Prof. Ntsinjana and the family almost cancelled the appointment because Cara-Lee, who was then five weeks old, was not looking sick and was only battling to drink. After examining her, Prof. Ntsinjana had to tell her parents that she was gravely ill and had to be admitted immediately. She was on the brink of heart failure.
“He gave us time to process the news and made it clear that there is not even time to get a second opinion. We had to trust people we did not even know, but everybody at the hospital made it so much easier for us. They were always hugging us and reassuring us and gave us individual attention that made us feel that Cara-Lee was the only patient there.”
Cara-Lee was one of the children attending the party to celebrate the children who went through surgery to repair their hearts. Although she could not enjoy the snacks because she is still too small, this day was for her too. And for all the parents who completed the arduous journey with them.
Looking at these children who all came to celebrate “wear your scar with pride day”, as Prof. Ntsinjana calls it, it is clear that Madiba’s dream for a hospital dedicated to children has come true.
Internal Book Launch “A Dream Realised”
founding organisations, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust (NMCHT) and Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund).
Written by authors Ulrike Hill and Zanele Chakele, “A Dream Realised – The triumphs and challenges of building a Mandela legacy” details the journey that led to the building of the second dedicated health facility for children in the region.
What began as a seed, grew from a vision to a state-of-the-art-facility offering critical care to children in the region, regardless of their socio-economic standing.
The story tells the story of key players who brought this vision to life including CEO of the Fund and NMCHT, Sibongile Mkhabela who sat on a panel to discuss the book with the authors and Dr Pinky Chirwa, Head of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, who also provided clinical inputs during the conceptual phases.
Encouraging staff who held on to the panel’s every word, Mkhabela said, “We're finished building, but we still need ambitious and visionary people. None of us can do this by ourselves.”
An external launch of the book is planned for later in the year. The book is currently available from major book retailers including Exclusive Books, Amazon. Orders can also be place on the NMCH Website.
Celebrating World Kidney Day
Shaped like beans, kidneys play a crucial role in the body including ridding it of toxins. While a kidney transplant is the best treatment for a child living with kidney failure, our dialysis unit plays a vital role in providing this treatment to children from various corners of the country awaiting transplants.
12 March is widely celebrated as World Kidney Day. This year’s theme on focused on preventing kidney disease and our dialysis unit was not one to be left out on the education drive.
Patients, together with nurses and doctors provided entertainment for staff accompanied by dietary tips to improve kidney health as well as screenings for staff.
Watch an interview by nephrologist in the Unit, Dr Tholang Khumalo, talking to the SABC’s Morning Live on this condition.
To learn more about the hospital click here
By Shadi Nyokong
The past four years of implementing the Child Survival Development and Thriving programme (CSDT) has given us evidence that social intervention and adequate responses are also a solution to health challenges and they do play critical role in improving child health outcomes. The excitement in 2020 started with documenting these initiatives to highlight lessons and experiences. This is not only meant to influence practice and policies but most importantly to save lives and ensure access and quality of health care services for pregnant mothers and their bundles of joy, the under 5 year olds.
One interesting initiative is the breastfeeding buddies model in Mpumalanga. A highlight from this model is an increase in more babies being breastfed, with almost 95% of the babies being exclusively breastfed for the first six (6) months. Since the programme started, 706 breast feeding women were reached, with 665 having exclusively breastfed their babies, and only 41 who mixed fed their babies i.e. feeding them both breast milk and formula. From this initiative, a case study on a solution to increase breastfeeding numbers will is being documented.
Two other models that are also being documented is the role of early childhood development (ECD) in child health care, especially stimulation services for children under the age of two. The second intervention is called baby competition in Kayelitsha. The focus is the importance of health education in improving health awareness and compliance to child health care. Both interventions are implemented in Cape Town.
Our understanding of the fact that children matter, also our partnering with local organisations, help us as a Fund to continue to be one of the critical role players in the strengthening of health care systems to better care of our children. This has also given us confidence with digitalising of our monitoring and evaluation framework.
During this period, the good work we are doing, is also challenged by COVID 19. Children and pregnant women are among the most vulnerable. With partners in KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape, our messages are emphasizing key steps that need to be taken to protect beneficiaries and staff from infection by COVID 19. We thank the good men and women from our partner organizations and all health practitioners for their work and commitment.
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