Nelson Mandela's Philanthropic Work
One of the greatest leaders of our time was also one of the greatest philanthropists.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner pressed leaders around the world to take action on global poverty, Huffington Post reported. He is remembered especially for his speech at London's Trafalgar Square for The Campaign to Make Poverty History. "And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom," he said.
Mandela advocated equal distribution of farmland and agricultural development as a basic human right, HuffPo reported. He said in a 1993 speech at Soochow University in Taiwan, "The right to vote, without food, shelter and health care, will create the appearance of equality and justice, while actual inequality is entrenched....We do not want freedom without bread, nor bread without freedom."
Mandela donated a third of his presidential salary to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, an organization that helps the young, the BBC reported. The organization’s flagship project is building a children's hospital in Southern Africa. In a 2000 interview with CNN he said, "We want every child to have a first-class primary education, and we want the elimination of all preventable diseases in society so that we can say in theory and in practice that we regard our children as the jewels in our society."
Mandela campaigned governments to declare a global AIDS crisis calling it a "human rights issue." He broke the silence and stigma surrounding the disease that claimed 1.2 million people in Africa last year. Mandela's 46664 organization was originally founded as a global HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaign.
CNN reports, "Mr Mandela spent 67 years making the world a better place. We're asking you for 67 minutes." In 2009, the UN declared Mandela's birthday, July 18, as Nelson Mandela International Day, a call for people around the world to devote 67 minutes to help others, one minute for every year of Mandela's public service.
Mandela set up the Mandela Rhodes Foundation to help African youth who show academic prowess and leadership potential by offering them scholarships to further their education and build upon their leadership skills, CNN reports.
The social justice crusader was jailed for 27 years in prison because he stood up against South Africa's apartheid government. Mandela led the struggle to replace the regime with a multi-racial democracy.
Does Nelson Mandela's legacy inspire you?