On Friday, 17th July and on “Mandela Day” on 18 July, Kids Haven received many visitors who came to live out the care and compassion that Mr. Mandela had demonstrated in his lifetime. The purpose of Mandela Day is to encourage everyone to donate just 67” of their time to do something good for someone else. Here at Kids Haven, all the many visitors who came helped to do so many things – we had teams of people painting and renovating our Dormitories, our classrooms and the TV Room and Youth Room. Others fixed playground equipment and painted it beautifully plus some burly men helped to move financial records from one room to another – crossing a distance of about 100m to do so!
Volunteers brought food and clothing - even branded KIDS HAVEN T-shirts, wide smiles and genuine connections while they played games with the kids and prepared and served delicious meals. Kids Haven even received packed sandwiches that we could use for the evening snack on Friday and again for a special picnic on Saturday. We also love our new boundary wall at the Kids Haven Village which is beautifully decorated with the flags of Africa to celebrate this continent, crush the notion of xenophobia and welcome the many foreign children who live among the South African children at Kids Haven due to crises in their own countries.
Hosting all these visitors, many of whom interacted with our children, also allowed us to see a side of the kids that we don’t always see. For instance, it was wonderful to watch a young man, Ndele, laughing and dancing wholeheartedly without reservation. Normally a quiet boy who watches from the sidelines, we got to see a happy involved and interactive young chap. We loved to see this. But the greatest gift that all these visitors brought was the affirmation and honour that they gave to the Organization and our Staff. So many visitors thanked us for the work that we do. Other visitors praised the children and gave credit to Kids Haven for nurturing such beautiful kids. These affirmations made us all stand a little taller and feel as if we were heroes for the day. Sometimes, we can feel weary and frustrated by the difficult work that we do when children reveal their inner trauma through ‘bad’ behavior.
Mandela Day 2015 helped US to recognize that the work we do is incredibly important and that we can feel proud of everything we do. Thank you to everyone who shared in these days with us and brought their best