The United Nations has designated Nelson Mandela’s birthday every 18th July as Nelson Mandela International Day, when people throughout the world are encouraged to give 67 minutes of voluntary service to the community in whatever way they choose, to help change the world for the better.
This year ACTSA Scotland (Action for Southern Africa) is asking people to use their 67 minutes to sort out and donate children’s books to be sent to school libraries in Nelson Mandela’s home Province of Eastern Cape, with which Scotland has a particular link.
Trade Unions across Scotland are supporting this call for action by opening up our offices to the general public on the 18th July as a collection point for this book appeal. We are also asking trade union members and others who will be in the relevant offices on the 18th July to bring along a children’s book for the appeal.
What are needed are children’s books of all kinds, in English, to encourage reading for fun. Story books or factual books, for all ages from pre-school to teenagers, are welcome Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said;
“Trade unions have been supporting ACTSA’s book appeal for a number of years now and have already sent container loads of books to South Africa. It’s great this year to be able to support a wider call for action and to encourage members of the public to play a part in Mandela day. Nelson Mandela remains an inspirational figure and its right that his birthday should serve as a reminder of what can be achieved through voluntary and community work.”
Brian Filling, Honorary Consul for South Africa and Chair, Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) Scotland said,
“ACTSA Scotland is pleased to be associated with the world-wide activities on Nelson Mandela International Day. It is fitting that on this day, Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, people will be bringing books to various collection points throughout Scotland. These books will go to libraries and schools in the Eastern Cape, where they are much needed following decades of colonialism and apartheid. ACTSA Scotland, in association with Community HEART, has sent almost 3 million books to South Africa since the end of apartheid.
“ACTSA Scotland and the South African High Commission welcome the support of the Scottish Government, the STUC, Glasgow City Council and the many volunteers for the Mandela Day activities, which are designed to make the world a better place for all. We would particularly like to thank the Scottish Trade Union Congress and individual trade unions offices for allowing the use of their premises as book collection points.”
Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for External Affairs and International Development, who will be taking part in the collection in Glasgow, said:
“I urge all Scots to spend 67 minutes volunteering in their communities, in honour of the 67 years that Nelson Mandela fought for social justice.
“Scotland has strong links with South Africa which were cemented during the struggle against apartheid when Glasgow became the first place anywhere to award Mr Mandela freedom of the city.
“This Mandela Day I will be supporting the excellent appeal by Action for Southern Africa and the STUC by collecting and donating books, helping to promote literacy and further strengthening those links between our two countries.
“Mr Mandela’s 95th birthday provides a fitting opportunity to make a difference in your community and honour this great leader’s legacy by doing something, big or small, to make the world a better place. On this poignant day I wish Mr Mandela and the people of South Africa well.”
For further information contact Kevin Buchanan 0141 337 8100 Helen Martin 0141 337 8100
Notes to Editors: Trade unions across Scotland are opening up their offices to the general public to be used as collection points for books. The offices involved are as follows:
Glasgow STUC 333 Woodlands Road Glasgow G3 6NG
Edinburgh NASUWT 35 Young Street North Lane Edinburgh EH2 4JD
Kilmarnock GMB 9 The Foregate Kilmarnock KA1 1LU
Dundee GMB Kimberley Buildings, 38 Whitehall Street Dundee DD1 4AF
Inverness UNISON Highland Area Resource Centre 53 Shore Street, Inverness, IV1 1NF