Free yourself, free others and serve every day. These are the ideals by which world leader Nelson Mandela lived and encouraged people to adopt. On his birth anniversary, UN General Assembly launched Mandela Day on July 18 in 2009, to commemorate his spirit of servitude. This day is now observed in 149 countries every year and its theme is ‘Action Against Poverty’. The Nelson Mandela Foundation on July 18 observes, in retrospect, the efforts taken for the welfare of people and what can further be done. The Foundation has tried to increase its reach, impact and sustainability for the since last 8 years. To bring about change, this day seeks to make every day a Mandela Day by celebrating the leader’s life and legacy in sustainable ways.
Nelson Mandela fought to dismantle apartheid and tackle racism in South Africa. He fought poverty and during his term as President and worked towards the betterment of the underprivileged people of his country. Mandela Day promotes similar social change, but on an individual level and on a small scale. Madiba, as he was fondly called by his people, had the vision to spread social justice and make it a global movement. He was a servant leader and Mandela day encourages people to walk down a similar road. On this day, the NM Foundation was supported by a number of NGOs and prominent personalities from politics in South Africa, who did social service and highlighted the importance of this day.
Poverty is one of the gravest issues that governments must address today. In India, the government has launched schemes like National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP). These programs either provide direct employment and wages in cash or offer assets, credit, training for skill formation, etc. To fasten the process, other groups such as non-government organisations and corporate houses under their CSR projects have started to lend a hand to mend the situation of poverty. According to a report by Livemint, the categories drawing most amounts of CSR funds are education and poverty eradication. Activities under ‘eradication of poverty and hunger’ received Rs.1564.39 crore from 79 companies. These activities include eliminating malnutrition, promoting preventive health care, sanitation and making potable water available.
According to a report published by World Bank, India’s poverty rate reduced from 21% in 2011-12 to 12.4% in October 2015. In the backdrop of the economic status of the country, this is a monumental change. It was mainly credited to the rural spending of the government and increase in electricity provision. A country’s economy is only as strong as it’s the weakest sector. The funds coming in through all channels must be utilised by countries across the globe to uplift the poorest sections through funds and policy.
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The CSR Journal Team