I have always loved giving back and helping out wherever and whenever I can, so when I saw the opportunity to give back on Mandela day via “Cheesekids for humanity” (An NGO founded by the philanthropist – Shaka Sisulu) I immediately got excited and registered on their website.
I wasn’t alone in this as I was accompanied by my dear friend and Umlazi tutor Zandile “Dizzy” Dlamini. The giving back was initially scheduled for the 15th of July and due to weather conditions in Johannesburg and Cape Town at that time it couldn’t happen, (of course Durban was sunny and bright as usual). The date was then postponed to the 29th of July with hope that the weather would not be as gloomy as it was for the past two weeks. The 29th of July came and sadly the turn out wasn’t that great as we all had anticipated, assumingly everyone was “over” the Mandela day spirit however that didn’t stop us from our mission to make a change.
Each cheeesekid would be allocated to one of the surrounding townships of Durban which were (Marianhill, KwaMashu, and KwaNyuswa). We found ourselves in Marianhill at the Jabulani Self-Help Centre. The Jabulani Self-Help Centre provides help through self-help projects and support for disadvantaged women and their children. The centre was founded in 1988 by Sister Macro Gneis with help from the missionaries in the surrounding areas. Our task for the day was painting and brightening up the recreational rooms, halls and activity rooms the kids use at the centre.
Interestingly enough Marianhill is the place I grew up in for most of my childhood and were Zandile’s family grew up in and this was very humbling which reaffirms that nothing happens by chance. It was a really gratifying experience and hope that everyone doesn’t wait for days such as Mandela day to give back, making that small difference in just ones person’s life is a huge difference itself. And at IY we do that all day and every day.
I’m a Cheesekid, have been for the past year. I joined Cheesekids last year in July just before Nelson Mandela Day, soon after encouraged my friends to join in too. Being a Volunteer means a lot to me because it means I am able to make a difference in someones life which is something rare these days, a lot of people are only concerned about themselves and how they will benefit and are less caring about the needy and less fortunate. I believe in giving without expecting anything back and taking with appreciation.
This year Cheesekids has had a few charity events, the latest one being the Nelson Mandela Day Revolution which I took part in and had fun, although there were a lot of disappointments with attendence from my usual Cheesekids crowd, it was lovely experiencing something new with new people. Painting the buildings at Jabulani Self-Help Centre was rewarding for me and those who use the centre because I had fun while giving back to a community my family grew up in and those who use the centre get to have a welcoming place that adds colour and hope into their lives .
Zandile ‘Dizzy’ Dlamini