“OVERCOMING poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela
When Mandela said this he was speaking to a crowd of 22 000 people in Trafalgar Square in London in 2005. He was giving his full support to the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign. This campaign called for people to wear white bands on their wrists to signal a demand for government to prioritise eradicating poverty. As a result, the annual G8 Summit (a yearly discussion held with eight of the world’s leading industrial countries) decided to decrease debt for the world’s 18 most poor countries by $1billion (over R10 billion) a year.
Nelson Mandela, who died in December last year, was not only the inspiration and supporter of such campaigns like ‘Make Poverty History’, but he was at the forefront of living by example. In his first year as president in 1994, he started the Nelson Mandela Childrens Fund and for five years he dedicated a third of his salary as a president to keep the fund going. The fund partners with communities throughout the country to specifically aid children in need.
Staying true to his view on poverty, money raised it not simply given money away to orphanages or aid organisations. Instead the fund develops the skills of children to get them self sustainable and educated.