By Orita Bailey
This year’s International Mandela Day will focus on activism. Getting people to devote sixty seven(67) minutes of their time to doing something to make a difference in the world. The significance of the sixty seven? One minute for each year that Nelson Mandela – or Madiba has given in service to the world.
Some may ask how this short period – just sixty seven minutes – can make a difference? But we have all heard of the moment that changed a life. In sixty seven minutes you can engage a teenager who is experiencing difficulties with peers, sit with a patient in hospital and just empathise, read with a class of toddlers at pre or primary school. Sixty seven minutes can change a life. Right here in St. Kitts and Nevis or where ever you are.
Some seem to think that volunteering has to take place within a formal structure – and sometimes it does. One can hardly expect to walk into a kindergarden or school without making arrangements with the headteacher or the education authorities, however, stopping to ask a child why they are out of school during school hours and engaging him/her in conversation requires nothing more than the willingness to take a chance on being told to mind your own business.
St. Kitts and Nevis has a long history of volunteerism as do most developing countries where people are the most valuable asset. An asset that is in short supply as small developing states, by virtue of their size usually have small populations. This cadre of volunteers however, are usually in evidence at large organised events such as national or community festivals, music and sporting events, etc.
But the sixty seven minute project invites us to take individual action. We each of us can actually make a difference in our communities by doing something positive to create the change we want to see.
How about visiting the residents of the Cardin Home and reading to them for an hour? How about pulling weeds in the cemetery? How about going on a beach clean-up? hhow about collecting the plastics littering your walk route? These are all actions we can take TODAY to make a difference in our communities.
And it doesn’t have to end with just today! How about just sixty seven minutes one day each week? How could we transform our communities then?
Why not join with family members,neighbours or work colleagues to start an action in your neighbourhood?
When we think of the contribution that Madiba has given in his life we should consider what we could do to emulate his example to change our world and go out and begin today.