To mark Mandela Day on 18 July, the international day in honour of the late statesman Nelson Mandela, staff of the Division of Facilities Management at Stellenbosch University (SU), together with various of its service providers, braved the rain on Thursday to lend a helping hand to the Child Welfare Centre in Idas Valley, Stellenbosch.
The work done by at least a 100 volunteers on the day, in which wall cracks and roof leaks were fixed, while also donating clothing, toys and non-perishable food items to the 100-year-old organisation - concluded a whole week of work at the Centre.
Staff of Facilities Management and its service providers, amongst others refurbished the existing parking, paving areas and ablution facilities; pruned trees; performed maintenance work to the landscaping and irrigation system; repainted ceilings; provided extraction for the kitchen; manufactured and installed a new ramp for people with disabilities to provide access to the hall, replaced all lights with retro-fitted LED fittings and serviced the alarm system.
Conservatively put, the work amounted to at least R500 000 in value.
Ms Nicolette van den Eijkel, organiser of the Mandela Day outreach and Chief Director: Facilities Management, said the team aimed to complete all the maintenance jobs and show appreciation to the Child Welfare Centre staff for the work they do. “Today is about giving selflessly and providing a sense of hope and happiness to someone else who is less fortunate. With this initiative, we want to foster and reinvigorate the spirit of ubuntu with the aim of embodying this spirit far beyond Mandela Day," she said.
She made special mention of the the University's services providers saying that the Herculean task performed at the Centre would not have been possible without the assistance of the services providers who didn't think twice about offering their services and expertise.
Van den Eijkel also believes that by aligning itself with initiatives such as Mandela Day, Facilities Management supports SU's Vision 2040, contributing to an “organisational culture built on shared values" and making an “all-encompassing impact". “Selfless initiatives such as this one embodies the attributes and values SU stands for, which is key to us as Facilities Management," Van den Eijkel added.
Bettie Nieuwoudt, manager of Child Welfare South Africa: Stellenbosch, expressed her gratitude towards SU and Facilities Management and the service providers for their help on Mandela Day. “We are grateful to the University for taking time out today to come and assist with maintenance work. This shows that, like us, SU too is truly part of the community," she said.
Nieuwoudt hopes that initiatives such as Mandela Day will increase people's awareness of the plight of those less fortunate than them. “Despite our limited resources, the centre has been running for 100 years with a staff corps of 20 social workers, five supervisors and five admin staff. It is a pity that so many people remain unaware of our organisation and of the realities of others in the area. We hope this will change and that more people will step forward to help those in need in Stellenbosch and surrounds."
While some of SU's Mandela Day activities kicked off in the week of 15 July, the majority will take place from 22 July. The aim this year is for SU to recommit itself to purposeful partnerships and highlight the importance of sustainable development-oriented relationships.
Click here for more information on all the University's Mandela Day activities and to find out how you could get involved.
For more information on Child Welfare, visit http://www.childwelfarestellenbosch.co.za/.