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Mobilizing for Mandela Day


A chain of hope: Staff member from various corporates and other organizations volunteered their time and muscle to help in the construction.


Under a watchful eye: Qualified artisans and team leaders put the volunteers to work.

Habitat for Humanity South Africa convinced South Africans to get involved in their initiative to build 67 houses during their “International Nelson Mandela Build Week” from 16 to 20 July.
Although Habitat builds houses all year round, this represents one of their largest “blitz builds” to date.

Nelson Mandela Day is an annual international day held in honor of South Africa’s first democratic President. It is celebrated on Mandela’s birthday, 18 July. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010. People are asked to dedicate 67 minutes of their time in volunteering for a worthy cause –symbolizing the 67 years of the selfless public service of Nelson Mandela’s life.

In the run-up to Mandela day, Adrienne Burke, Habitat’s national marketing and communication officer, said to achieve this ambitious target, they needed the help of South Africans to raise the funding required for the 67 houses and also needed South African’s to volunteer their time onsite during the build week.

And South Africans did not disappoint. Staff from various companies and organizations, under the guidance of qualified artisans, lent a hand in mixing cement, passing building blocks and erecting walls across the sites in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

The houses were handed over to the beneficiaries at Habitat’s special handover ceremony on the fifth and final day of the build week.

“It is a very moving experience for all volunteers having played an instrumental role in making a tangible difference to someone’s life,” said Burke.

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