This year marks the first Nelson Mandela International Day since the passing of one of the greatest leaders in modern history, Madiba. On Friday, 18th July, Tsogo Sun’s Sandton Convention Centre (SCC) paid tribute to his legacy by partnering with Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa, to eradicate child hunger in unregistered Early Childhood Development Centres.
The event, themed ‘Meals in Memory’ hopes to pack 745 000 meals throughout the day in five shifts of 67 minute each at the SCC and multiple shifts in Cape Town. It will be the largest number of meals packaged on a single day by Stop Hunger Now SA to date.
The meals will be distributed to 180 unregistered Early Childhood Development Centres around Johannesburg and Cape Town, bringing relief to almost 9 000 children, who receive three nutritious meals a week thanks to the efforts of all the volunteers and sponsors.
Barry Mey, Chief Executive Officer of Stop Hunger Now SA, notes, “The outpouring of support from individuals and corporate South Africa to perform 67 minutes of community service in honour of our beloved Madiba is testimony to the fact that this year’s Mandela Day will be very special. Following our great statesman’s passing late last year, so many South Africans have responded to his birthday wish – for us all to serve the poor.”
Commenting on Sandton Convention Centre’s support of the event, Executive Director Mati Nyazema says, “Mandela Day is a celebration of kindness and giving. As a country and as individuals we can only hope to mirror this sentiment, not only today but every day. It is this effort that will keep Madiba’s memory alive, and we are honoured to partner with Stop Hunger Now SA’s and all the corporates and members of the public who came together to make this vision of feeding hungry learners a reality.”
Mey adds, “We are amazed at the hospitality, generosity and support that the Sandton Convention Centre has shown us. Stop Hunger Now’s partnership with the venue has made today’s objective of 745 000 meals possible.”
Mrs Graça Machel, former president Nelson Mandela’s widow opened the day’s proceedings with a heartfelt address, noting how the great things being achieved through his legacy, “Well done! Wherever Madiba is today, you can be sure he’s smiling.”
This is the second year that the SCC has partnered with Stop Hunger Now SA, which is an on-going international initiative that serves 65 countries. As part of the Tsogo Sun group, the SCC participates in initiatives such as this one that are enduring, and which align with the group’s sustainability in tourism strategy and model.
Follow the event on Twitter at #MandelaDay @TsogoSun @SandtonEvents.
About Stop Hunger Now
Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa (SHN SA)’s mission is to end hunger in Southern Africa. We have a specific focus on hunger within the context of education, and have been active mainly in the feeding and development of pre-school learners at under-resourced early childhood development (ECD) centres that are not registered and subsidised by government.
SHN SA is a volunteer-based non-profit-organisation, registered as a non-profit company (NPC) and prides itself on challenging traditional attempts being made to overcome the problem of hunger, in as far as not being a hunger relief charity, but a hunger eradication agency.
Although compromising a small staff complement, SHN SA directs the activities of many volunteers, relying on them to package good nutrition. These individuals play a pivotal role in achieving consistent delivery mandated in SHN SA’s mission: transformation through education.
SHN SA’s meal packaging programme is a cost-effective and efficient solution to produce highly nutritious meals comprised of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and 23 essential vitamins and minerals, conforming with UNICEF’s fortification standards. Forty volunteers can package 15 000 meals in two hours at a cost of R2.75 per meal.
With SHN SA’s experience in pre-school feeding, where they currently feed 8 500 children three meals a week every month, SHN SA wish to extend their programme to tackling the challenge of hunger at tertiary level. SAB Miller has been invited to become a partner in a pilot project at the University of Johannesburg, which will see 2000 students being fed for a period of one year. The Student Affairs department at UJ has identified the number students the meal packs will be distributed to.
Key to any successful food security intervention is effective monitoring and evaluation. SHN SA as part of the project will develop a specific monitoring and evaluation programme for tertiary feeding, leveraging off our experience in pre-school feeding
About Sandton Convention Centre
Sandton Convention Centre is located in the heart of Sandton’s hotel, business and entertainment district. The centre offers easy access to more than 5 000 hotel rooms (ranging from economy to deluxe), is adjacent to some of the country’s premium shopping and entertainment complexes (Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square), which provides 10 600 secure parking bays.
Sandton Convention Centre offers unlimited potential with over 22 000m² of state-of-the-art meeting, exhibition and special event space. Purpose-built to international standards, the convention centre is able to host meetings, conferences, exhibitions and special events of virtually any size and nature. It offers some of the most advanced technology available for convention and exhibition centres anywhere in the world. Multiple events can be staged simultaneously on four main levels, and 10 000 visitors can be accommodated at any one time. A team of highly trained staff is on hand to provide support services.
Its central position in Sandton provides easy access to Johannesburg International Airport, Gautrain rapid rail, the Sandton CBD, major hotels and shopping centres.
Sandton Convention Centre was developed and is managed by Tsogo Sun, the leading hotels, gaming and entertainment company in South Africa, providing a vast variety of hospitality and exciting entertainment and leisure experiences. Combining an established heritage with a professional and energised approach, the group proudly encompasses 14 casinos and over 90 hotels in South Africa, Africa, and Seychelles.