Every day is Mandela Day

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award empowers young people to make a difference in their community by encouraging them to look beyond their comfort zone to tap into their sense of leadership and discovery. Participants of The Duke of Ed live by Mandela’s mantra that “it is in your hands now.” Nelson Mandela saw himself as a servant of the people. He understood that each individual has the responsibility to change our world for the better, and that rings especially true with our generation.

So, how do you go about changing your world? One step at a time. Practice compassion in all of your actions. And turn your passions into action. That’s just a fancy way of saying – be yourself. You’ve heard it a hundred times but it’s true! Mandela famously stated: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Being your true authentic self instills hope in others and is the gift that keeps on giving. Like a domino, a good deed has after effects that ricochet long after the initial act. If you need some inspiration of your own to get started, The Duke of Ed has a great volunteer guide with a top ten list of service ideas to help get you motivated.

On Nelson Mandela’s Birthday, we reflect on the legacy of a man who preached that actions – no matter how big or small – can create a world of difference. The biggest obstacle we face as a society is challenging our status quo. One cannot be free if ones does not have the basic necessities of life. That is why Mandela stressed four areas of significance to focus on to create a more sustainable and beautiful society for all, and it is a good starting place when thinking about what you can do to have an impact.

Areas of significance:

1. Food and water security

2. Shelter and infrastructure

3. Education and literacy

4. Environment

By focusing on establishing respect for the dignity and empowerment of all individuals through community contributions, Mandela stressed that each action one takes should be in service to one’s fellow human. If you remember nothing else of Mr. Mandela remember this:

1. Free yourself

2. Free others

3. Serve everyday

The best way to honour Mandela on his day is to focus your efforts to strengthen local resources, and remember: “It always seems impossible until it's done.”

Rest in Peace Madiba. July 18th 1918 – December 5, 2013