Energy & Environment

Saturday, 23 July 2011 14:29

Volunteers do 15 years for SA

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On Friday the 18th of September, 3,862 ordinary South Africans joined hands to paint, plant, clean, read, teach, share and empower their communities on 217 projects across the country, contributing a staggering 30,896 volunteer hours or over 15 years of time combined.
The significant impact this one day of activism has made on both the lives of the beneficiaries and volunteers is reflected here.

You are making the difference
A group of volunteers visited the 'Yesu i hosi' Projects Rehabilitation Centre located in Croquetlawn Village in Bushbuckridge South. The group included a local doctor who examined the sick and elderly free of charge and screened three of the patients who will be the recipients of wheelchairs next week. The volunteers got to work preparing some of the sick and elderly for an outing to the local church where they enjoyed a meal arranged by another group of volunteers.

Project leader, Creseldah Ndlovu, shares her experience: "I thank God for this Do It Day, which will be part of our history forever. After we served the meal and were about to leave the church, the patients just cried. It was very touching I must say. God bless you for this idea. You are making the difference."

A fresh coat of paint
The Phuthaditschaba Primary School in Attridgeville received a much-needed makeover when all their classrooms were freshly painted thanks to a passionate team from Do It Day sponsors, Old Mutual. Staff volunteers, Lebogang Mokgoshi and Sandhiya Naicker testified to the rewarding results: "We had a fulfilling experience and were overwhelmed with all the work that went into the project. We both recommend that the rest of our colleagues, participate next year."

Sowing the seeds
A collaboration between Momentum staff volunteers and non-profit organisation, Soil for Life, resulted in the establishment of a community garden nursery at the Sinebongo community garden in Langa. The group of ten willing and zealous staff got their hands dirty by digging trenches, planting seeds and mulching soil.

Many of the Momentum staff reported that they were looking forward to going back to the garden in a few months time to see what seeds had grown and also to continue their support. Some others commented on the tangible, infectious and inspirational community spirit that abounded on this special Friday.

Proudly Manenberg
In Manenberg, a predominately working class community on the Cape Flats, Old Mutual joined hands with 'Proudly Manenberg' in implementing a turnaround strategy of building a vibrant, proud and dignified community through the creation of a Waterfront for community recreation and conservation. Over two hundred community and visitor volunteers spent the day laying the foundations for an Arts and Culture centre, building a parking lot, creating gardens and levelling the area to build a beach soccer and volleyball pitch

Manenberg’s residents have taken ownership of their community to achieve a shared vision. Consensus is that they can only achieve this by forming partnerships with other organisations, government and the business sector. Consol Glass is supporting the project through their contribution of the sand and materials for the soccer pitch.

Project Leader, Mario Wanza, shared his gratitude: "We thank everyone for their contributions and volunteerism. United, sharing ideas and experience and with a common purpose we can do great things!"

Captains of industry
Business heavyweights across South Africa championed the cause of volunteering by getting professionally – and personally – involved in Do It Day. The Old Mutual and Nedbank Foundations demonstrated their commitment to volunteerism by teaming up to sponsor this year's Do It Day campaign.

Head of the Old Mutual Foundation, Andile Ncontsa, who has been instrumental in raising awareness around volunteerism, believes that volunteerism is Ubuntu in action: "We can harness this spirit to address our current challenges to rebuild communities and to re-engage citizens so that we all feel a shared responsibility for building a shared prosperity for all."

Nedbank's Sakkie O'Neil agrees: "Volunteering makes us aware that there are people that are less fortunate than ourselves and we do not need money to make a difference in someone’s life. It promotes the culture of Ubuntu."

Corporate support helped to boost take-up of volunteers and make sure this Do It Day was the biggest and most successful yet.

Other companies that rolled up their sleeves and deployed their volunteer energy into communities included: Aon Benfield, City Lodge, Comair, FirstRand, Media 24, Mr. Price Foundation, AVI, Estee Lauder, Halls, Pick n Pay, McDonalds, Synovate, Standard Bank, On the Dot, Cape Media, The Vineyard Hotel, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Consumer Goods Company S.A., Accpac, ooba, Flight Centre and Barnard Jacobs Mellet.

Support from the media and pro-bono partners, such as through-the line advertising agency, The Department Store, assisted in raising the profile of the day and in turn recruiting more volunteers than ever before.

This is how the provinces stacked up:
Eastern Cape: 7 projects, 191 volunteers
Gauteng: 89 projects, 1195 volunteers
KwaZulu-Natal: 20 projects, 298 volunteers
Limpopo: 1 project, 6 volunteers
Mpumalanga: 4 projects, 63 volunteers
Northern Cape: 1 project, 150 volunteers
North West: 4 projects, 59 volunteers
Western Cape: 91 projects, 1899 volunteers

Imagine the potential
If almost 4,000 volunteers managed to touch so many lives in one inspiring day, imagine what 20,000 people could achieve or 50,000 or 5 million. This is just the beginning. GreaterGood South Africa is already planning for Do It Day 2010, a significant day in a significant year for the country.

Do It Day is a powerful tool for change by supporting the valuable work of causes in communities across South Africa and helping to forge long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships between people, companies and causes. Anyone wanting to get more involved by becoming a Do It Day champion in 2010, can email their details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Notes to editors:
• GreaterGood South Africa brings good causes and committed givers together in meaningful and innovative ways to end poverty in South Africa. Through its groundbreaking website – greatergoodsa.co.za – and call-to-action campaigns, GreaterGood SA makes it easy for individuals and businesses to support registered non-profit organisations with time, skills, loyalty points, goods and money.
• Reports on all the Do It Day 2009 projects will be available on doitday.co.za by 5th October.
• For more information contact Roxy Mitchell, Communications, GreaterGood SA on (021) 762-7338.

Read more http://www.mediaweb.co.za/journalist/mnews_j_.asp?id=3767

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