As we close the first quarter of the fifth anniversary of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH), we would like to update our global community of donors, supporters and partners on our hospital’s progress.
Now, the only dedicated children’s hospital in Gauteng and the second in the Southern Africa region, Mr Nelson Mandela’s vision of improving access to healthcare for children will reach yet another milestone.
After officially admitting its first patients on 21 June 2017, the 220-specialist facility operates as a non-profit, academic hospital which provides services to children regardless of their ability to pay. A majority of its services are focused on serving public patients who have limited access to healthcare services.
The hospital is slowly growing its private practice in line with its mixed model of fundraising supported by robust fundraising efforts by its founder, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
NMCH offers the following medical, surgical and supporting services: Cardiology (Interventional and Diagnostic), Renal (including Dialysis), ENT (Ear Nose and Throat), General Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Neurology and Orthopaedic Surgery. These services are supported by the Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive Care Units, Radiology and Anaesthesia.
To strengthen and grow its academic affiliation and training capacity, the hospital has also signed academic agreements with the following universities in the past year: University of Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg.
Whilst Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, an adverse impact on activities at the hospital with a staff complement of just over 300, over 11 300 admissions were received at NMCH in the past financial year.
NMCH also started the year with a new Chief Executive Officer, Dr Nonkululeko Boikhutso and Chief Financial Officer, Ms Margaret Amofa who were both officially appointed by the NMCH Board of Directors in December 2021.
Dr Boikhutso will lead the new strategy for the next five-year period which includes positioning NMCH to offer high quality and distinctive market-responsive pediatric health services in South Africa and the broader African continent.
The hospital has also focused on greening efforts with the aim of saving water and electricity at the state-of-the-art facility, an ongoing project which will ensure the environmental sustainability of this facility, for generations to come.
The hospital will commemorate its birthday various activations leading up to June and July, widely known as International Mandela Month.
In April for instance, the hospital will take a moment to commemorate the sterling work by emergency response teams who responded to the devasting fire at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (approximately 200 metres from NMCH) which resulted in the evacuation of over 100 neonatal babies and their families to NMCH.
Our community will continue to receive regular updates during this special period, leading to the birthday celebrations.
We would like to thank all our donors, partners, supporters, staff, patients and families who have been with us on this journey and as we look forward to marking this great milestone.
For more information contact:
Chief Communications and Marketing Officer
Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
Specialist: Communications and Marketing
Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
Telephone: 011 274 5600
The roots of Human Rights Day in South Africa historically stem from the Sharpeville Massacre of 21 March 1960. A crowd estimated of 7,000 people protested peacefully to the Sharpeville police station, opposing the Pass Laws. Police officers opened fire resulting in 69 people dying and 180 injured. A moment in time in our history, signified a highpoint in our newly democratic country. Today, we commemorate the 21st of March as Human Rights Day to serve as a reminder of our rights as well as the lives that paved the way for our democracy.
This year commemorates the 25th year of the adaption of the Constitution. The South African Constitution encompasses the rights of all persons living in South Africa, affirming the humanness, dignity, equality and freedom of all in our democracy. In 1994 during the South African general election, our Constitution was drawn up by the democratically elected Parliament. In 1996, it was then propagated by President Nelson Mandela in Sharpeville and came into full effect on the 4th of February 1997. It is important to note that no other law or government action can supersede the provisions of the Constitution.
Founding the Children’s FundOne evening in Cape Town, before South Africa’s first democratic election in April 1994, Nelson Mandela was set to attend a meeting when he was stopped by a group of twenty children. His security guards tried to stop them from getting closer because they were dirty and ragged, but Mandela refuted, insisting that these were the children he wanted to see and speak to. The children asked him, “why do you love us?”, to which he asked, “how do you know that I love you?”. The children then responded, “because when you got money from overseas, you gave it to us”. The money in which the children were referring to, was the Nobel Peace Prize money that Mandela had donated to charities centred on children. This encounter stayed with Mandela. “I kept on seeing their faces, so young and yet already so old because of life on the streets. That is when I conceived the idea of a children’s fund, dedicated to the needs and aspirations of our youth.” He decided that this Fund had to react urgently to the immediate needs of the children such as those he had met that one evening. He went on to pledge one-third of his salary to the Fund and began fundraising.
Children’s Manifesto 2019 Section 28 of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution states that “every child has the right to basic nutrition, shelter, health care and social services, as well as the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation”.
From the 22nd to the 24th of February 2019, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament of 2017 and 2018, and the Efeng Bacha Advisory Committee held a meeting in Gauteng Province. The purpose of this meeting was to create a South African Children’s manifesto that spoke to the full incorporation of Section 28 of the Constitution. The Manifesto serves as a child-centred approach, prioritising the rights, responsibilities and well-being of children. It is a call to political parties, government officials, state owned enterprises, businesses, labour, social movements and civil society to engage and adopt this approach for the betterment of the children of South Africa.
This Children's Manifesto aims to address issues that are affecting our children in South Africa under the following priority areas:
The Importance of the Rights of Children and the plight of human rights in South Africa birthed our democracy. Within our human rights, come the rights of our children. Crafted by our youth, it is evident that the Children’s Manifesto is the handiwork of our children and our future as a country. The youth are aware of their human rights as well as their contribution to society hence their voices need to be heard. Moreover, their interests must be protected, that is why the Fund was founded. Mandela envisioned a society in which children are treated with the utmost respect. The purpose of the Fund is to ensure that such efforts are strengthened, aiming at repairing the ravaged fabric of our youth’s social and economic circumstances. We, at the Fund promote the success of projects bringing immediate relief, giving a voice and dignity to our youth by building a rights-based movement for the youth, by the youth.
Rights of All Humanity Matter
Dignity, Mutual Respect and Equality are key elements to the fundamental rights of all humanity.
By Bontle Lekgoathi - Child Safety & Protection Programme
As we celebrate March as the month of Rights, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not only affirm these but proclaims as core rights of all humanity. The UN member states recognises March 21st as the national day of commemoration of Human Rights. The month of March commemorates many rights, including the International day of Women’s Rights on the 08th March. In 2022, this also marked the invasion of Russia to Ukraine.
Article 1, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity, respect and rights.” These are not for some people but all people. The recent invasion of Ukraine must remind us why every life matters. As the war continues the greater question is who is speaking on behalf of the children in the middle of this invasion?
The objectives of the United Nations Convention (UNCRC), is provision, protection and participation of children in matters that affect them, it is the cornerstone of the articles as a living and breathing guide the work of The Fund.
The right to life as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls upon all humanity to undertake what it means to be human, the mutual respect for everyone, the equality for all and dignity of all. “To recognize that ALL LIFE MATTERS” This is an indictment to all humanity young and old to Protect, Preserve and Promote the safety and the value of life. These are values that former president Mr. Mandela believed in.
As enshrined in the South African Constitution, (Act 108 of 1996) that all life that lives in the country belongs to it. United in our diversity South Africa is home to many stateless children are equally entitled to the same rights as all. The violence perpetrated against foreign nationals, with the recent protest of Operation Dudula in Alexandra and Soweto. South Africa must guard it’s humanity.
 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, page 1, December 1948,
By Joanna Kleovoulou
Covid-19 has highlighted mental health matters and brought complex challenges which had mental health repercussions for everyone, including children and adolescents.
Children as young as 6 have sadly committed suicide in our country.
An increase in anxiety, depression, AD(H)D, OCD, low self-esteem, bullying, addictions, adjustment and learning difficulties, to name a few, most of all having to with having to deal with losing loved ones, or fearing loss. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds.
These challenges inspired me, as a clinical psychologist, to create a fun activity book to provide a tool box of solutions for children aged 6 – 13 years, equipping them with a concrete tool-box to build resilience – fundamental for successful living and coping. Self-esteem is vital at this developmental stage impacting functioning and performance in adulthood.
I have created and launched a Mental Health Activity Book with a superhero called Sufi the Squirrel who is sensible, resourceful and wise. Sufi teaches children about EQ and mental wellbeing in a fun interactive way. I am very grateful and honoured that the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund has endorsed this book, recognising the need to psycho-educate and empower our children by caring for their mental wellbeing in a fun and engaging way, with % proceeds of the sale of these books benefitting their The NMCF Child Safety and Protection Programme.
If you would like to purchase a copy of the iMatter Activity Book, click here.
Why are Children's Rights Important? - By The Nelson Mandela Child Parliamentarians
With Human Right's Day around the corner, we asked some of our 2021/2022 Nelson Mandela Child Parliamentarians why Children's Rights are so important.
Here's what they had to say;
Name: Hon. Given Matshika
Position: Speaker of the 2021/22 Children’s Parliament
Why do you think that Children’s Rights are important? Children’s rights are important to us children because you get to live life to the fullest and respected knowing that you are protected and children are vulnerable and have not learned how to develop voices in their own so that’s why we have programmes like safe and caring communities to guide.
What is an important child right for you? As a child parliamentarian I believe that children have the right to be taken seriously and share their views and ideas because as said that children are the leaders of tomorrow so I believe that children must share their views about what is affecting them and what are the solutions on that. To me this right is important because it allows children to participate in/ influence policies. As Section 17 of the Bill of Rights talks about freedom of expression, this right should also be extended to children.
Name: Hon. Lindokuhle Ndlovu
Position: Deputy Speaker of the 2021/22 Children’s Parliament
Why do you think that Children’s Rights are important? As a child parliamentarian I believe that children are important and should be consulted should there be any decision regarding their well-being or future. Children are the future of this beautiful country and therefore should be equipped at an early age as to how to be even better and creative leaders of this country when their time comes. This means that as much as we have crisis in our country like any other, we should not focus more on the present and end up sacrificing the future of this country which is children by not giving them attention and the right education to better their lives. As we commemorate the 28th anniversary of human rights, let's remember the words of Oliver Tambo, "A country that does not take care of its children does not deserve its future". Let's do what's right and continue developing our nation United, protecting and valuing children and their right's in the process.
What is an important child right for you? One of the right's I specifically think is important is the one that states "every child has the right to live in a productive environment". Children should be surrounded by safe communities that inspire them to give back when they are older. They should be taught how they can be the change they want to see within their respective communities by being given platforms that will make them feel recognized and valued.
What is an important child right for you? As a child parliamentarian I believe that children have the right to protection. Children have a number of rights but I specifically chose the right to protection because I feel that it is a right many people neglect. The right to protection, in short, is the right for children to be protected mentally, physically and socially. Children should be protected from abuse, neglect, child labour, bullying, degradation, etc. We tend to focus on the basic rights of the child which include the right to basic education, food and shelter but I would just like to take this opportunity to shine a light on the right to protection that children have. This right in most cases lies in the hands of adults be it duty bearers, stakeholders or guardians, if the importance of this right is understood, it will be made a priority as it should be.
Message By Chief Programme's Officer - Dr Stanley Maphosa
NMCF carries vision and mission of the Fund by implementing five programs that align to the strategic objectives and its focus areas. Our primary beneficiaries are children and youth for whom we would like to see society change the way they are treated.
We focus on child health, child safety, economic resilience and the leadership and empowerment of youth. Our programs are Child Survival, Development and Thriving (CSDT), Child Safety and Protection (CSP), Youth Leadership Program (YLP), Sustainable Livelihoods Program (SLP) and Special Projects that include the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH).
In 2022, we are developing and getting the new strategy approved. The strategy will run for the next five years (2022-2027). Meanwhile we will spend time this year phasing out and transitioning the projects that we have been working with our implementing partners on from the previous strategy 2016-2021.
We will also continue to also work with other implementing partners that straddle the two strategic periods in eight of the nine South African provinces with our program teams. We look forward to our key events like the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament and the Children’s day.
Our staff are experts in providing practical support in the field to children and youth, creating impact at scale.
Many would agree that the act of service comes from a place of love. It is selflessness and a sense of duty to others that inspires us to give. What better time to show our humanity than the month of love, February, which is also synonymous with sharing feelings of love, warmth and tenderness?
At the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund), this has been an opportune time to kickstart our campaign #ServeLikeMandela, a call to all of us to give of ourselves and show love to those who need it most. This is through our various programmes, namely Child Survival and Development, Child Safety and Protection, Youth Leadership Programme, Sustainable Livelihoods Programme and our flagship project, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
As we all know, Mandela was deeply passionate about our children and youth. He once said, “There is no keener revelation of a society’s soul, than the way in which it treats its children.”
This February, we’re asking you to share Mandela’s love for children and join us on our mission to improve the lives of children.
How Our Programmes are Leading the Way
This quarter, our programmes are focusing on key themes pertaining to serving the greater good for young people in our country. These programmes fall under our five-year strategy:
Child Survival, Development and Thriving – First 1000 days of life
Child Survival, Development and Thriving has partnered up with The Centre for Community Justice and Development (CCJD) to launch a joint programme in Pietermaritzburg. The programme aims to implement a food and nutrition security project focused on child survival and development. The goal is to strengthen the care system for the child’s first 1000 days of life.
Child Safety and Protection
Child Safety and Protection (CSP) is ensuring safety for children at all times. The CSP therefore supports the work of grassroots organisations working to protect children in vulnerable contexts. This is done through workshops and supporting children and their families to understand and know how to make the law work for them when they may be unsafe or violated.
Youth Leadership Programme
The YLP #ServesLikeMandela by amplifying platforms for youth to engage with issues they care about and lead change for themselves and communities. One of our activities this February includes a group coaching session with youth to empower them with skills in their areas of engagement.
Sustainable Livelihoods Project
Sustainable Livelihoods Project (SLP) is about empowering the youth, their families and communities to becomes self-sustaining individuals and groups. Reducing vulnerability to different kinds of things such as health risks, mental stress, and behavioural risks for income.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital
This state-of-the-art facility based in Parktown, Johannesburg continues to save the lives of vulnerable children dealing with life-threatening illnesses. Every child who is appropriately referred to this facility is never turned away due to an inability to pay.
Ways you can #ServeLikeMandela Here’s how you can support our work and spread love this February:
Twin sisters Aimeé Serrão and Candace Bosch are passionate about the youth, their country, and bringing a smile to children's faces. Through a proudly South African children’s book called “Paintbrush’s Colour”, Aimeé and Candace hope to spread positivity while educating the youth in a fun and inspiring way.
“Paintbrush's Colour" has educational questions at the end of the book where children can learn the Big 5, the five national symbols and more!
The stories behind the planning for, fundraising and building of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital are inspiring, personal, and sometimes heart-breaking. It was a long and arduous journey, beset with difficulties, but the dedicated team’s commitment and courage prevailed to create a living legacy that will truly impact the lives of children for generations to come.
A percentage of the proceeds go to our Child Safety and Protection programme!
The NMCF and Sufi the Squirrel in collaboration with Psychmatters would LOVE every Child to have a book in their hand!
Everyone loves a good gift and The #NMCH gift shop has the coolest presents for your loved ones, including lunch bags, hoodies and jewelry.
By buying a gift from the #NMCH gift shop, you are contributing to donations that goes towards our children’s treatments.
Help us ensure that the legacy of our founder, Nelson R. Mandela, is secured in perpetuity, by donating to his vision of Changing the Way Society Treats Its Children and Youth.
Becoming a monthly donor allows us to contribute towards our beneficiaries country-wide.
Click here to sign up!
LETTER OF CONDOLENCES FROM THE NELSON MANDELA CHILDREN’S FUND AND NELSON MANDELA CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
Dear Tutu Family,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Management and Staff at Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund), and its flagship project, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, we would like to express our deepest condolences, on the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu.
When the news of his passing reached us, our hearts, along with those of the South African people and the global community, were ladened with an overwhelming sense of loss, that only a giant such as Archbishop, could evoke.
We remember the fondness with which our founder, and at the time, President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Nelson Mandela, spoke of the Archbishop at a Thanksgiving ceremony held in his honour on 23 June 1996. In his speech, President Mandela was quoted saying of the Archbishop, “He is renowned for selfless commitment to the poor, the oppressed and downtrodden. With his colleagues, he remained an effective voice of the people of South Africa when so many of their leaders were imprisoned, exiled, banned and restricted. Desmond Tutu is esteemed the world over for his commitment to justice and peace everywhere.”
It is that commitment, which cemented the Archbishop as a significant voice in the fight against apartheid, as well as a champion against injustice and inequality, in the newly democratic South Africa.
A close ally to President Mandela, the Archbishop shared Mr Mandela’s passion for a just society for our children, supporting Mandela’s dream of building a dedicated hospital for children stating, “For years, Nelson Mandela has dreamt of building a hospital dedicated to delivering world-class treatment to our children. Like Madiba, I believe our children deserve the best medical care possible.”
The Archbishop would become patron of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) Trust, which led the campaign to build the state-of-the-art facility based in Parktown, Gauteng. Next year, the hospital will celebrate five years of operations and serving thousands of destitute children in need of specialist healthcare.
Rare are leaders like the Archbishop, whose moral standing inspired nations and right-based movements without fear or favour. So unique was his hope in times of adversity, that it remained unshaken, never sacrificing truth and a stern approach to injustice. So deep were his tears, his empathy watered barren lands where hope and reconciliation could finally grow. So great was his smile, that even now, in this dark hour, it comforts all of us who feel an inextricable loss in the time of his absence.
Our nation and the global community at large will forever remain indebted to the Archbishop’s life of service, his selflessness at great personal risk and the moral compass he lent to humanity in navigating a more just world.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.
It is with deep sorrow to receive the news of the passing of Mr Franklin Thomas. From the Board of Trustees, Management, and Staff of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund), may you receive our heartfelt condolences.
Mr Thomas has been a beacon of true servant leadership in this world. Through his work as President and CEO of the Ford Foundation, Mr Franklin committed to advancing the work of Mr Mandela’s children’s legacy projects as a donor and advocate.
Through the years, the Ford Foundation supported the strategic work of the Fund which includes poverty alleviation, promoting the safety of children as well as their health and survival in the early development of their lives.
Furthermore, the Ford Foundation remains a major donor of Mandela’s dream for a dedicated paediatric facility, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) based in Johannesburg, South Africa. NMCH which will be celebrating five years of operations next year, providing services to critically-ill children and we owe our thanks to the support of partners like Mr Thomas and the Ford Foundation who have made this possible.
Mr Thomas’s relationship with Mr Mandela remains etched in our memory and his impact and influence continues to reverberate in our work across our country and region.
We are truly grateful and honoured to have had the opportunity to work, engage, and love Mr Franklin. Thank you to the Thomas family and Ford Foundation for sharing him with us. You remain in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult period.
May his spirit rest in peace.
CSDT Launches Nutrition Project in KZN
Child Survival, Development & Thriving Programamme has teamed up with the Centre for Community Justice & Development (CCJD) in a joint nutrition project.
The project is focused on integrating households into production of nutritious food crops and developing sustainable diets aimed at improving nutrition status in children of under the age of five, pregnant women and vulnerable women of reproductive age focusing on the First 1000 Most Critical Days in child’s life.
The lockdowns due to disruptive nature of Covid-19 led to increased unemployment, household food insecurity and limited access to nutritious diets. In addition, family incomes are not enough to afford expensive refined nutritious products on the markets. During the lockdown last year, CCJD staff received hundreds of requests for food parcels from local residents. When distributing food parcels and handing them out, they visited people’s homes and were distressed to see the extent of food shortages and lack of nutritious porridge/food for children. In response, CCJD employed an expert with a PhD in food and agriculture to develop strategies for sustainable food production and diets at household level.
The nutrition project is aligned to one of NMCF’s health programme - Child Survival, Development and Thriving (CSDT) which support pregnant women and children under the age of fives. Emphasis is on supporting initiatives that improves good health outcomes, prevent malnutrition, strengthen families and building community initiatives that are intended to increase quality health services for children. Efforts of this programme are concentrated on first 1000 days of life of a child. With its commitment to ensure that children live a long, healthy and fulfilling life, NMCF is deliberate when addressing health and nutrition. Given the high levels of stunted and malnourished children, emphasis is on creating affordable healthy foods and increasing health education and awareness.
The joint program will also provide pathways for alternative, affordable and nutritious food products at household level. The program will work with Community Health Workers (CHWs) from the Department of Health to identify families in need, with an emphasis on households that have children under the age of 5, and pregnant women. In instances where malnourished children are identified, they will be put on a rehabilitation feeding programme. The program will train these households and other local women to start the gardens of indigenous leafy vegetables, and also train families on utilization and processing of locally available nutritious grain legumes such as groundnuts (peanuts), cowpea and soybean. The production of these crops will assure household diets rich in nutrients such as iron, zinc, proteins and essential fatty acids for the health of families and their children.
Seven (7) gardens were established, five of which have been planted and two gardens were suspended due to sustained conflicts among the community members. The planted leafy vegetables are bean, cowpea, okra, amaranthus, and pumpkin. The common vegetables such as spinach, kale and lettuce are also planted for adaptation of vertical garden on commonly available leafy vegetables.
Below are images from the launch lunch in Pietermaritzburg, where children were tasting food from veggies that were from the gardens.
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