March 21, 2020

Three Life-Changing Ways to Celebrate Human Rights Day

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly has changed the world we live in. Overnight, corporates have converted to remote working, schools have closed, and it seems we’re out of toilet paper. While the world is going crazy, it’s important to take time out to remember our humanity.

This month South Africa celebrates Human Rights Day on the 21 st of March. We commemorate this day every year in honour of those who died during the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960. What a perfect opportunity for us to take a moment to be grateful for the leaps and bounds our country has made since then, but also to seek ways to bring a little more love and light into the world.

Here are our three life-changing ways to celebrate Human Rights Day this year.

1. Host a Thanksgiving party, online. Just because you can’t have a lot of people over doesn’t mean you can’t have a party at all! There are some incredible apps out there that make video conferencing really easy. Zoom is a great platform that allows you to host “meetings” of up to 100 participants on its Basic plan, which is absolutely free. Other options include Google’s G

Suite and WhatsApp’s Group Call – but note that at this time, WhatsApp only allows group calls of up to four people.

Create cool invites using Canva, and include the link to your party in the invite. Ask your guests ahead of time to think about something they are
thankful and to share it at the party. Add some balloons, some music and a cosy space to sit – whether it’s at the dining room table, your bedroom, or the floor – and you’re all set!

Spend the time sharing your gratitudes and enjoying each other’s company.

Thanks to internet technology, we can still connect with loved ones and get an uplifting change in perspective, without leaving our homes.

2. Be kind to your neighbour. Stressful times like these can bring out the best and worst in people. But the line between the two if often simply a choice. Think about someone (whether it’s a neighbour, a colleague or a random stranger) that could use a little help. Maybe they need a bag of groceries.

Maybe they could use some airtime or electricity. Maybe that mom from your play group could really use a spoil. Whatever you decide to do, ensure that everything is packed with the same care you’d take for your own family.

Concerned about physical distancing? Order online and have it delivered instead!

If you’re stuck on ideas or aren’t sure who to help, involve the whole family – your kids are bound to have noticed someone at school or on the street who is lacking. Can’t think of anyone in need? Why not treat a fellow shopper to a bag of groceries on you, or tip your waiter 100%? Whatever it is, there are loads of things you could do to brighten someone’s day!

Need some kindness inspo? Join the #ImStaying group on Facebook for amazing stories of how fellow South Africans are brightening each other’s lives on a daily basis.

3. Give to a social justice programme. What better way to celebrate our democracy and human rights than to empower the younger generation?
Education is the key to us moving forward as a nation, and empowering young people with quality schooling is the best way to give it to them.
Unfortunately, as we know, many kids of all ages battle at school due to lack of food and supplies.

Thankfully, there are so many amazing organisations in our country that are working tirelessly to assist underprivileged children and under-resourced schools. Here are a few of them:

  • African Scholars Fund. Since 1970, this organisation empowers students that are struggling financially by assisting them with school fees, uniforms, transport, etc. It also offers mentoring for the children it supports, which looks like constructively encouraging their schoolwork so that they achieve good results.
  • Save the Children. Based in 120 countries, Save the Children is the world’s largest independent development and rights-based organisation for children. Its mandate is to bring quality education to all children in South Africa, as well as protect those who may be in danger of exploitation or neglect.
  • SALT Projects. This Cape Town-based organisation runs several focused social justice programmes in local communities. Its Finishing Strong programme in particular offers mentoring, educational support and financial assistance to high school students from under-resourced communities, with the goal of helping them achieve better marks so that they have a higher chance of getting into tertiary studies.

And those are just some of the ways you can celebrate our Human Rights Day! Of course, there’s no need to wait for it to roll around every year – you can do something good every day!

Comment below and let us know how you’ll be celebrating!