Making a difference on Mandela Day

Making a difference on Mandela Day

“During the many years of incarceration on Robben Island, we often looked across Table Mountain at its magnificent silhouette … To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.” – Nelson Mandela
Wesgro hosted 45 children from three local regions at Aids Response Wellness Foundation in Observatory on Nelson Mandela Day July 18 in honour of the elderly statesman’s birthday.

The NGO provides support and care to those who care for people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. Whether home-based, clinical or pastoral, caregivers are central to all strategies aimed at combating HIV and AIDS. Little attention is paid to supporting and sustaining these caregivers, and Aids Response plays a pivotal role in caring for the caregiver.

“The children and our staff spent some time cleaning and painting their facility, learning about the work of the caregivers and getting to know the importance of the role they play in the communities they serve,” said Nils Flaatten, Wesgro CEO. “I am particularly touched by these caregivers because we gave 67 minutes of our time on this one day but they give six to seven days of their lives every day. The three regions represented were West Coast, Karoo and Winelands. Not here were the Overberg, Cape Town and Garden Route.”

Stemming from the morning’s activities, the children were tasked with going back into their own communities to find projects of their own, which they can support. Along with corporate sponsor Old Mutual, next year Wesgro will go into the regions and visit these projects, to see the difference they have made and the lessons they have learnt. This Wesgro CSI event will grow into an annual project.
Flaatten went on to say that the children should “steal with the eye and learn that by doing small things with love you can achieve a lot.”

He encouraged the children to become leaders when they go back to their communities and to try and touch the lives of those closest to them.
The Royal Hospital School, on tour from the UK, provided entertainment and even joined in on the activities of the day.