Nelson Mandela International Day was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July 2009 by a unanimous decision of the United Nations General Assembly.
It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices.
It is more than a celebration of Mandela’s life and legacy. It is a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.
In 2011 Aspen participated in the campaign for the first time with a single project that supported a small school for mentally and physically disabled children in Johannesburg. Such was the impact of the project, that from 2012 the commitment to the programme was extended across the 6 continents where Aspen has a business presence.
Caring for less fortunate communities through active socio-economic development (SED) programmes has always been at the heart of Aspen's DNA. This dates back to the first rural healthcare clinic that Aspen opened in Engcobo, Transkei with the late Nelson Mandela in April 2001, as well as pioneering the development, registration and launch of generic anti-retroviral medication in 2003 to treat millions of HIV/Aids sufferers inflicted by this disease. Primary healthcare; education including graduate programmes and social upliftment are only a few of the categories that form part of Aspen's SED initiatives, with Mandela Day being its largest Group-wide project.
In 2017 business units engaged in 105 projects in 37 countries reaching over 101 000 beneficiaries. The intent of the project has always been for employees to become actively involved and give back to less fortunate, marginalised communities. This approach has been widely adopted and embraced with many volunteers becoming personally involved with worthy organisations on a broader scale beyond Mandela Day.
To date, Aspen's employees have engaged in more than 330 projects for nearly 300 000 beneficiaries who have been directly touched by their selfless care and generosity. Environmental projects, which can't be quantified in terms of beneficiaries directly reached but which will provide for future generations, are also receiving increased attention from certain of the business units.
Through these ongoing efforts Aspen's people have certainly taken up Mandela's challenge to “take action, inspire change and make every day a Mandela Day“.