DUT’s INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS GIVE BACK TO COMMUNITY
By: Winston Sibanda
It was a fun filled day at St Thomas Childrens’ Home as the Durban University of Technology’s International Society and other organisations graced the home with their presence.
The visit, organised by the International Students Organisation (IS0), brought together students from different countries to celebrate Mandela Day. Students took turns in cleaning the facility, cutting children’s hair and playing with the kids.
Relebohile Ramakatsa who spoke on behalf of ISO said that this day was about giving back to the community. She said they chose St Thomas Children’s Home since it houses small children from as young as two years old. She added that some of the children are living with HIV and they need someone to show them love and care.
Ramakatsa said, “Mandela served for one term as president- this shows that he was not in power for himself but for the people. So today we revive that spirit of being there for other people and these children need love and care since they are still young.”
NEHAWU (National Education Health and Allied Workers Union) was among the organisations which donated their time and energy on the day. Phakama Mdunakazi, a member of the union said that he loved this day as it was a reminder of what Mandela stood for. He described Mandela as a father who cannot be replaced.
Mdunakazi said, “When Mandela was around he used to intervene when the country had problems and needed advice. Our current leadership is trying to fit into his shoes, but they are not like him.”
Bernice Fraser who is the acting manager for child and youth care at the home expressed gratitude for what different organisations had done for the children. She described Mandela’s work as still living among people.
“Today I am feeling lively- we do not have money to paint these rooms, but today I am happy because all is done in the name of Mandela. This shows that he still lives within us,” Said Fraser.
She said she wants to extend this spirit of giving to her family. She said this should be practised even during family events like birthdays where people should give to the needy as a way of celebrating.
It was an emotional moment as students and different organisations bid farewell to the children. Sharon Mandizha who is the ISO Events Officer, said people should carry on with the spirit of giving. She said the Mandela day spirit should become a daily thing and the world would be a better place.