Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, together with representatives from UN Volunteer (UNV) programme, will be celebrating International Volunteer Day (IVD) at the hospital. December is an important month for NMCH, as it marks the anniversary of the hospital launch on 2nd December 2016, and the commemoration of Madiba’s passing on the 5th December 2013.
CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Trust, Sibongile Mkhabela said: “Madiba is the ultimate volunteer, he gave his time, money and resources during his presidency and after retirement to create organisations that would fundamentally shape and change society. In his name and through his legacy the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund was born and created the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. We are so proud that today bright minds in the hospital team are continuing this legacy and we celebrate this day in his honour.”
International Volunteer Day is mandated by the UN General Assembly, is held each year on 5 December and is a chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.
Apart from mobilising thousands of volunteers every year, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development by advocating for the recognition of volunteers and working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming
Mr Ambrose Toolit, UN Volunteer Programme Officer said: “IVD 2017’s theme #VolunteersActFirst. Here. Everywhere. recognizes the contributions of volunteers as first responders in times of crisis. Volunteers are present, all around us, answering calls in times of need, helping save lives today, and supporting those who want to continue living their lives with dignity tomorrow.”
The hospital has received a large volume of responses from South Africans who want to provide their humanitarian service to the hospital’s patients. From early 2017, the Volunteer Resource department has been inundated with requests, to offer services in one way or another for no compensation. Thus far there is a pool of 12 volunteers that work on weekdays. Volunteers are a precious resource to the hospital, throughout the patient journey, they play an important role in delivering best quality care to all patients and their care givers. “We appreciate that they are making time to come to the hospital, to ensure that our patients and their care givers, can, for just one minute, forget that they are in hospital.” Mkhabela says.
“Beyond this, trustees of the Fund, the Trust and the Hospital all volunteer their time, expertise and resources. These highly respected South Africans are dedicated to making sure that the hospital is a beacon of African excellence. NMCHT has been fortunate that we have had volunteer and third party fundraisers, helping with fundraising during the hospital capital campaign, making them an integral part of the journey and success of the hospital.”