Celebrating Mandela Day with Beyond The Vision Initiative – A Non-profit Providing Education to Children At Risk
Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated each year on July 18th to remember the life and struggle of Nelson Mandela. He was a leader who fought for the freedom of all people. One who had an exceptional ability to inspire many to be part of his movement. An advocate of equal rights for all people, he fought against inequality and injustice. Such leaders are invaluable to our society and often serve as role models. The purpose of this day is to remember Nelson Mandela’s tireless commitment to political freedom, civil rights, equality, racial justice, and affordable healthcare for all citizens of South Africa.
We had a conversation with Jackline Musyoka, founder of Beyond the Vision Initiative. The organization provides education to at-risk, vulnerable children in Tassia, Nairobi, Kenya. They also arrange mental health programs and mentoring opportunities for children and youth, as well as food and counseling services.
Why is it necessary to celebrate Mandela Day?
Jackline Musyoka: Celebrating individuals in this world who have brought change is important. A celebration honors the legacy of these people and encourages others to follow in their footsteps. So I think it’s important to celebrate Nelson Mandela, an icon. He fought for Africa and, more importantly, for humanity. In order to remember him and to bring awareness to those who have not heard of him, we must continue to commemorate him and his accomplishments.
What are the different activities organized by “Beyond The Vision”?
Jackline Musyoka: We believe it is not enough to celebrate a personality like Mandela for just one day of the year. Therefore through our work, we try to celebrate him all throughout the year. We firmly resonate with one of his quotes, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world and African nations.” In the same vein, we offer basic education programs and scholarships to children who cannot afford any kind of education. We are using education as a tool to alleviate poverty in Kenya and, hopefully, from around the world as well.
Aside from this, we do celebrate Mandela Day with some special initiatives. As I said, we need to have the children and the communities know about Mandela. And so the first thing is awareness about Mandela. We present stories from Mandela’s life to children to introduce them to a real-life hero.
What are the few qualities of Mandela that you admire?
Jackline Musyoka: We regard Mandela as one of the most influential and inspiring leaders that we have in Africa. In addition to being fearless, he led with a smile on his face. There is a lot of inspiration in this. He was very bold, and we need bold leaders in the world. In fact, we need one right now. We may not be fighting or going through the struggle that he went through, or any other leader went through a few years ago. But the struggle is still real; the struggle against poverty is still there. The country’s development would be much faster if African nations embraced education and educated their populations, just as Mandela believed.
The fact that he was a great communicator and conveyed his vision and whatever he was trying to accomplish was the reason that people understood and followed him. My admiration for Mandela lies in these qualities.
How can people celebrate this day in different ways?
Jackline Musyoka: Everyone should celebrate Mandela Day in accordance with their connection to his work. Offices to families, everyone should celebrate Mandela day in diverse and unique ways. Because diversity is what you’ve been given for free. And we should use it to celebrate this hero. For organizations like ours, which have access to the broadest possible section of society, it’s important to highlight aspects of Mandela’s work that illustrate how to use your qualities for good. We should also make sure that we use Mandela day to promote education and the role of education in privacy in fighting poverty in the world.