On 18th July 2009, The UN General Assembly took a unanimous decision to celebrate the day every year as Nelson Mandela International Day, in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday. This came in light of an appeal made by Mandela a year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices. The objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better and in this process, to build a global movement for good. The broad themes for Mandela Day are: Food Security, Education and Literacy, Shelter and Infrastructure, Service and Volunteerism.
As South Africa’s first democratically-elected president and a revolutionary activist, Mandela is famous for his fight for racial equality. He also felt very strongly about raising the status and condition of women. Mandela is quoted as saying, “Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.” Another time, he said, “As long as women are bound by poverty and as long as they are looked down upon, human rights will lack substance.” He made many changes for the betterment of women, that improved women’s representation in government, improved female healthcare, and upheld reproductive rights. For example, in 1994, free healthcare was introduced for children under six, along with free pre natal and post natal care for women. During apartheid, women only represented 2.7 % of the South African parliament. When Mandela formed his cabinet after the first democratic elections of 1994, that number jumped tenfold to 27 %. Today, women make up about 44% of the South African Parliament. Mandela also declared 9th August as Women’s day, to honour the struggles of women for the past many decades.
We at CSR, salute the spirit of Nelson Mandela, and feel deep regard for all his efforts towards the cause of women. We firmly adhere to all his philosophies pertaining to serving humanity and making the world a better place, for each and every human, and hope to continue our efforts in this direction.
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