On 18 July every year, we mark Nelson Mandela International Day by making a difference in our communities. Everyone has the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better. Mandela Day is an occasion for all to take action and inspire change.

The 18th of July is Nelson Mandela’s birthday. On his 90th birthday, Mandela announced the idea of this day, saying: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens.” Now, the burden is in your hands.”

The Nelson Mandela 2022 theme is “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. As part of Nelson Mandela Day 2022, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will focus on its food and nutrition program and highlight the plight of food security and climate change.

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal that I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”.

–  Nelson Mandela

We celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day every year to shine a light on the legacy of a man who changed the 20th century and helped shape the 21st. This is a moment for all to renew the values that inspired Nelson Mandela. “Absolute determination. A deep commitment to justice, human rights, and fundamental freedoms. A profound belief in the equality and dignity of every woman and man. A relentless engagement for dialogue and solidarity across all lines and divisions.” Besides being a humanitarian, Nelson Mandela was a great statesman, a fierce advocate for equality, and the founding father of peace in South Africa.

Under extreme difficulties, Nelson Mandela showed us the power of resisting oppression, of justice over inequality, of dignity over humiliation, of forgiveness over hatred. As the world strives toward achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and overcoming new sources of adversity, let us recall the lessons of Nelson Mandela’s life, and the essential humanism that guided him: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

The Legacy Lives on in Chris Oyakhilome

The founder of Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI), Chris Oyakhilome was quoted as saying: “Global poverty is one of the very worst problems that the world faces today, the poorest in the world are often hungry, have much less access to education, regularly have no light at night, and suffer from much poorer health. Making progress against poverty is, therefore, one of the most urgent global goals.”

Eradicating poverty has always been a top priority at the InnerCity Mission (ICM). The InnerCity Mission has had remarkable achievements over the years, which are clear testimonies of the unwavering commitment to finding lasting solutions to the issue of poverty.

Through its initiatives, the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI) seeks to offer structured support for impoverished children across the world in order to guarantee access to qualitative education, medical care, and physical and spiritual nourishment thus enabling them to lead normal, competitive, and useful lives in their communities and to live out their God-given destinies.

The World Bank Organization describes poverty in this way: “

“Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time.

Research shows that “despite the many definitions, one thing is certain; poverty is a complex societal issue. No matter how poverty is defined, it can be agreed that it is an issue that requires everyone’s attention.  It is important that all members of our society work together to provide opportunities for all our members to reach their full potential. It helps all of us to help one another.”

This is why under the auspices of the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI), the InnerCity Mission (ICM) has a “send portions” campaign for the month of July.

Research explains the many causes of poverty and its contribution to world hunger. “When people are undernourished, they tend to be weak and unhealthy. If hunger makes it hard to grow and learn, it’s no surprise that these people can’t rise up to break the cycle of poverty and hunger.”

The global socio-economic devastation created by the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many millions of people into poverty, increased global hunger rates, and derailed the educational paths of millions of children.