Nelson Mandela’s birth celebration on 18 July is the call for people everywhere to celebrate his life by acting on the idea that each person has the power to change the world.

The idea of Mandela Day was inspired by Nelson Mandela at his 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 when he said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.”

In keeping with this initiative, a group of Chatsworth volunteers partnered with the international hunger relief organisation “Rise Against Hunger” that coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world. Rise Against Hunger is driven by a vision of a world without hunger and a mission to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable.

The organisation initiated its meal packaging programmed in 2005. One of the volunteers from Chatsworth who was involved in the programme, Judy Naidoo said: “Each meal parcel combines rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and 23 essential vitamins and minerals into meal packets. The food stores easily, has a shelf-life of two years and transports quickly. Each parcel can feed a family of six. The parcels will be distributed to needy children in surrounding areas of Durban.

“We are happy to spend our 67 minutes toward this worthwhile cause to honor Madiba’s legacy to ensure the decrease and eradication of world hunger.” The United Nations officially declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009, recognising Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity and acknowledging his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.