On July 18th, 2010 what were you doing to make a difference?

On this first ever United Nations Nelson Mandela International Day, while Pikitup were busy cleaning up city streets, a group of volunteers were getting their hands dirty (and for some us a bit more than our hands) in front of the Norwood police barracks.

The Police Barracks are home to police officers and their families. The children of these dedicated individuals, who do their best to protect the communities in which we live, now have access to a simple childhood pleasure – jungle gyms (anonymous donation). All that was needed were a few repairs and a new coat of paint thanks to donations from Builders Express and Hyper Paint in Highlands North.

Wendy of the Norwood Community Police Forum (NCPF) Victim Support organised it all, gathering a large group of volunteers, NCPF members and eager children to sand down and clean the jungle gyms. Many hands make light work and within 40 minutes the lid of first tin of paint popped off and the fun began. It took more than 67 minutes but no-one minded. Mandela day is a call to action to make our world a better place, one small jungle gym at a time. In the warm winter sun, as the jungle gyms grew more and more colourful (as did the volunteers), the thoughts of many us were with Madiba on his 92nd birthday, a man who has inspired a strong sense of humanity and compassion in people all around the world.

So while family gathered with Nelson Mandela to celebrate his birthday, a gathering of families were making a difference to the lives of the children of the Norwood Police Barracks. Many of whom could hardly wait for the paint to dry to play on the jungle gyms. Unfortunately however, even at the Police Barracks, the reality of modern city life is that these jungle gyms will need to be positioned securely in an area that will offer a safe and secure environment for the children to play in. So keep your eyes peeled, because this story isn’t over yet and we will all have an opportunity to make more Mandela Days.

Article written by Russell Cohen