United Nations, diplomats and civil society commemorate Nelson Mandela Day with underprivileged children

Islamabad, July 18, 2017 (PPI-OT):Staff members of the United Nations in Pakistan, diplomats and civil society representatives celebrated Nelson Mandela Day with unprivileged children at the Society for the Protection of the Rights of Child in Islamabad.

Volunteers distributed gift bags to the children and engaged with them in fun and recreational activities like face painting, drawing and colouring. Children had also the opportunity to listen to the stories about the life and work of the Nelson Mandela, narrated in Urdu by the volunteers. After the story telling session, they participated in a food fair.

H.E Mpendulo Jele, the High Commissioner of South Africa, acknowledged the role of the UN Information Centre for celebrating Nelson Mandela Day in Pakistan, and said: “Today is Nelson Mandela’s birthday and, in his memory, Madiba as we lovingly refer to him in South Africa, has asked the World to give up 67 minutes of their time on Nelson Mandela International Day doing something good for humanity and making a difference in the communities in which we live.” He added: “In 2008, on his 90th birthday he called on leaders of all nations to change the world to a better place. He used the famous words” It’s in your hands now”. Today, as we celebrate Nelson Mandela Day we remain mindful of his words and of the great responsibility that he has left for us.”

Vittorio Cammarota, Director, United Nations Information Centre said: “Nelson Mandela’s lifelong engagement for children’s right is an inspiration for all of us and for the generations to come. We are happy to pay tribute to Mandela’s legacy by sharing our time with unprivileged children.”

Sadia Hussain, Executive Director of SPARC, said: “There are an estimated 13,000 street children in Islamabad alone, whereas an estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million children are on the streets of Pakistan’s major cities and urban locations. These children constitute the most vulnerable section of the society and are denied basic rights such as access to shelter, education and healthcare; all that, while being at risk of exploitation and trafficking”.

The event was organized by the UN Information Centre in partnership with the South African High Commission, the Society for the Protection of the Rights of Child and Loafology Baker and Cafe.

The theme for this year’s Nelson Mandela Day is “Action Against Poverty”.

The day commemorates the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world. It was launched on his birthday, 18 July, in 2009 via a unanimous decision by the UN General Assembly. It is more than a celebration of Mandela’s life and legacy; it is a global movement to honour his life’s work and to change the world for the better.

Background:

Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was a country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.

Nelson Mandela was awarded the World’s Children’s Prize 2005, and elected the WCP Decade Child Rights Hero 2009, for his lifelong struggle to free the children of South Africa from apartheid.

After 27 years in prison he became the first democratically elected president of South Africa. A country, where children of all the skin colours gained equal rights for the first time. Nelson continued to help South Africa’s children and demands respect for their rights. He started his own children’s foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF), which helps children whose parents have died of AIDS, street children, disabled children, and poor children.

For more information, contact:
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-8355720
Cell: +92-300-8553790
Email: ishrat.rizvi@unic.org

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