• Fri, Dec 6 - 9:00 am ET

Nelson Mandela Believed Education Was The Most Powerful Weapon Which You Can Use To Change The World

SAFRICA-POLITICS-MANDELA-HOMAGEThe world has lost a savior this morning and even though I think everyone is sad about Mandela‘s passing, it helps, at least it helps me, to remember all the ways in which he transformed the world, especially for South Africans and their children.

Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation. – Nelson Mandela at the National Men’s March, 1997

He is known as “Tata” which means father to the children of South Africa, and he worked tirelessly to improve the lives of children the world over. CNN reminds us:

Mandela loved children, and he wanted all the world’s young people to have opportunities. In a 2000 interview with CNN’s Jim Clancy he said, “We want every child to have a first-class primary education, and we want the elimination of all preventable diseases in society so that we can say in theory and in practice that we regard our children as the jewels in our society.”

Of the more than 2 billion children in the world, 1 billion live in poverty. Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund is dedicated to improving the conditions and lives of children and youth. Other organizations dedicated to helping children are UNICEF, Feed the Children and ChildFund International.

Donating your money or time to organizations dedicated to the welfare of children, locally or internationally, is a way to uphold the Mandela legacy. Sponsor a child. Groups like Save the Children and World Vision make it easy to do online. Advocate for young people. Donate goods. Toys for Tots makes it easy for you to find a drop-off location near you, and you can call the Salvation Army at 1-800-SA-TRUCK to schedule a pick-up of your donated goods.

For those of you interested in making a donation, you can visit any of the above links. The Schools For Africa initiative via UNICEF promotes education for all, with a special emphasis on girls, orphans, children living in extreme poverty and other vulnerable children. South African President Jacob Zuma has said: ”Our nation has lost its greatest son, Our people have lost a father.” I think that can be said for the entire world. Rest in peace dear Madiba.

(Image: getty)

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  • Justme

    When I was in elementary school, one of our projects was to come up with a plan for ending poverty/hunger in Africa. (I know, right?) While many of the kids went with the obvious stuff (give them food, give them jobs), ever the Catholic youth minister and devoted humanitarian, my mother suggested that we think bigger. So my presentation was on the idea of education. The old adage is true “teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.” Education is the key to power – a key that some people find very, very intimidating. Just look at Malala Yousafzai.

    • pixie

      I have friends who are huge humanitarians and have travelled to Africa and South America to help with building schools, etc. And after the Invisible Children “scandal”, I started reading up on different causes/charities. One thing I’ve noticed is there is a disconnect with the importance of education. We know it’s important but sometimes we only think about short term solutions. Hearing my friends’ stories and reading the anecdotes of doctors and others who have travelled to third world countries the biggest message I get is there needs to be a bigger focus on education. It’s a nice gesture to give food and create jobs, but there’s longer positive effects when the population are offered/given an education on top of jobs and food.

  • G.E. Phillips

    I don’t have anything really profound to add, but just imagine if everyone just in the US alone gave something–their money, their time, or clothes/food/other necessities that they did not have a use for– to help family with children somewhere. I don’t have as much as some, but I have a lot more than many, and it’s really our duty as HUMANS to share and to help those that need it. That’s the kind of person I want Face to grow up to be–someone who sees someone in need and helps them, the best way he can.
    Very beautifully written, as usual, Eve.

  • Bethany Ramos

    This is a wonderful post, but in a way, it’s not sad at all because he died at 95. It always makes me happy to see people live long, full lives, and I aspire to do the same.

  • Kay_Sue

    I love the emphasis on carrying on his legacy to celebrate his life. He’s proof of how one person’s decisions can resonate through decades, through hate, and through change.