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Nelson Mandela: Any society which does not care for its children is no nation at all

© UNICEF/AFGA000863/Pirozzi
Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela arrive at the Afrika Cultural Centre to announce the global partnership for children, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

PRETORIA, 11 July 2013 – The countdown to International Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July has begun. On South Africa’s first democratically elected president’s birthday, people from all over the world are challenged to spend at least 67 minutes doing good work in their communities. The 67 minutes are symbolic of the 67 years Mr. Mandela gave in service and sacrifice to humanity.

This year's event will take place under the theme of "Take action; inspire change; make every day a Mandela Day," with a focus on food security, shelter and literacy.

Mr. Mandela established the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in 1995 and, in 1999, after stepping down as South Africa’s first black president, he established the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
In 2001, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, along with his wife, humanitarian Graça Machel, helped to launch the Say Yes for Children campaign, an unprecedented movement to improve and protect the lives of children.
The campaign was the first major initiative of the Global Movement for Children, a coalition of some of the world's largest child rights organisations in a unique partnership to raise awareness about issues affecting children.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2001-0213/Pirozzi
“Any society which does not care for its children is no nation at all,” said Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nelson Mandela.

The campaign gathered more than 94 million signatures, which were presented at the United Nations Special Session on Children in 2002. At the session, Mr. Mandela urged world leaders to do more to give children health care and education.

In 2004, UNICEF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation started Schools for Africa, a campaign to promote education, especially for girls, orphans and those living in extreme poverty.

The initiative has helped rebuild schools, provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, immunisation and health checks for children, school meals and train teachers in some of the most remote areas. The initiative also supports the work of the Nelson Mandela Institute (NMI) in Eastern Cape which aims to improve access to quality education in rural areas through research, teacher and leadership development, community mobilisation and through building strong and lasting public institutions.



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