On 12 July 2018, St Andrew’s School for Girls from Bedfordview, hosted their annual Nelson Mandela CEO School SleepOutTM . Over 300 students and teachers volunteered to participate, braving the winter cold for a night to empathise, raise awareness and embrace the experience of homelessness. In addition to this, for the first time we extended the invitation to students of uBambiswano, our Saturday outreach school. Each participant did not arrive empty-handed, but brought a donation of stationery, food and sanitary towels for our beneficiary Ingqayizivele Secondary School in Tembisa.
The girls were kept busy with various community service activities including making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled materials, Eco-Bricks from bottles and single-use plastic, sock teddy bears, mats for the elderly and thank you cards for our support staff. We finished off by playing a game designed to raise awareness of privilege and then some reflection on questions such as – what makes us all the same and how can the youth change the world? After much fun and activity everyone enjoyed some hot chocolate and settled in to sleep with cardboard boxes and sleeping bags on the main driveway.
The event was a wonderful opportunity to get involved, make a difference, break down barriers and honour the legacy of Mandela, one hundred years after his birth.