03 August 2022 | Story Edzani Nephalela | Photo Supplied
Through gardening, cleaning, and a soup kitchen, students, SRC, and the Civic and Social Responsibility Forum worked together to improve areas within hospitals, shelters, and foundations throughout Bloemfontein.

‘Do what you can with what you have and where you are’ – this was the theme of Mandela Day according to the United Nations. Every year on 18 July, South Africans and the world at large commemorate the late Nelson Mandela by celebrating Nelson Mandela International Day. This annual international day of humanitarian action commemorates the life and impact of Nelson Mandela. It is also a catalyst for encouraging everyone to alter the world by volunteering in several activities.
In this spirit, the University of the Free State Bloemfontein, South, and Qwaqwa Campuses participated in a variety of activities to ensure that they played their part in bringing about change in people's lives. These are some of the events that took place:

Bloemfontein and South Campus

The Faculty of Theology and Religion took it upon itself to go on a knowledge gaining and partnership seeking journey on 22 July. The target was three organisations – the Martie du Plessis School, Aurora Rehabilitation Centre, and they concluded their journey at Towers of Hope Ministries. These organisations are not unfamiliar to the university, because Theology students do their pastoral work there, while Education students go to Martie du Plessis for their practical work. 

The team, led by Dr Pali (Senior Lecturer: Practical And Missional Theology), learnt about the challenges that the organisations face, as well as how the faculty aims to address these challenges through the knowledge and expertise that they have as academics. “It feels like we have one common goal, but we are pulling in different directions. How do we then find common ground and ensure that the solution is sustainable?” Dr Pali said when addressing church leaders at Towers of Hope Ministries.

Dr Pali led a theology team on a knowledge-gaining and partnership-seeking journey to Martie du Plessis School,
Aurora Rehabilitation Center, and Towers of Hope Ministries in the spirit of Mandela Day.

As part of their in-service training, fourth- and first-year Social Work students spent two hours at the ENGO Our Child and Youth Care Centre (Ons Kinderhuis). They painted the wall and played soccer with the kids. Concluding the month, Mariëtte Joubert, Placement Officer within the department, indicated that the first-year students were part of the Free State Care in Action (FCIA) Provincial Office launch for their Bottle filled with Care initiative on 29 July. The students distributed the bottles in the Brandwag neighbourhood, which is home to many UFS students.

Students in their fourth and first years of social work used their 67 minutes to assist the ENGO Our Child and Youth Care Centre
(Ons Kinderhuis) by painting their fence.

FCIA had collected almost 10 000 bottles, which were filled with soup mix and distributed across the Mangaung area to as far as Reddersburg. 

The Faculty of the Humanities commemorated Mandela Day at Kamohelo Children's Centre in Mangaung. Rosaline Direko manages the centre, which is home to 13 young children – all under the age of 18 – from a variety of underprivileged families. Non-perishable goods, seeds, and clothing were donated to the centre. Alina Ntsiapane, an Agriculture student, demonstrated to the children how and when to plant onion and spinach seeds. The children were also informed about the significance of eating nutritious foods, as well as the advantages of the various vegetable seeds that were donated. 

The UFS Faculty of Humanities and Alina Ntsiapane, an Agriculture student who also educated the children on the benefits of
nutritious food, paid a visit to Kamohelo's Children Centre.

The students, Student Representative Council (SRC), and the Civic and Social Responsibility Forum had a jam-packed day of activities in various areas around Bloemfontein.

Activity 1 – Bloem Shelter from 10:00 to 14:00. At this event, various student structures, the SRC, and the Civic and Social Responsibility Forum assisted by painting windowsills, cleaning some of the facilities, gardening, and presenting a sewing project.

The second activity was from 10:00 to 14:00 at the National Hospital. Student structures assisted with a project called National Hospital Spaces, where gardens are planted at the hospital to provide patients with beautiful spaces where they can relax and rest.

Activity 3 was at Die Lighuis in Heidedal. From 09:00 till 13:00, students assisted with the painting of doors, a soup kitchen, a street stand, and fun activities. 

From 08:00 to 15:00, students assisted the ROCKids Foundation in Heidedal by painting the fence at the foundation. 

Activity 5 was the Brandwag Clean-up from 09:00 to 12:00. The students cleaned up the litter in and around Brandwag.

These students also aided by working in the food gardens on campus under the guidance of the UNICEF and charitable growth student organisations.

Qwaqwa Campus

Students from the SHU-7, Bokamoso, and Tshimolohong residences collaborated with the Engaged Scholarship and Social Work offices, visiting the Jehovah Jirah Orphanage Centre in the Mabolela village in Qwaqwa, which is home to 60 children with ages ranging from 2 to 18.

SHU-7, Bokamoso, and Tshimolohong Residences, as well as Engaged Scholarship and Social Work, made a difference at the
Jehovah Jirah Orphanage Centre in Qwaqwa by cleaning, cooking, and donating clothing to 
the orphans.

The residence assistants donated clothes, cooked, cleaned, and did activities with the children, while the Engaged Scholarship office donated food parcels with fruit, vegetables, and clothes. The Qwaqwa Campus social worker, Selloane Phoofolo, donated packets of maize meal.

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