Ten years; ten thousand volunteers; more than one million volunteer hours logged! Celebrating our tenth birthday this year was the main reason behind the creation of our ‘Beyond the Roots’ initiative, but the meaning goes much, much deeper. So what exactly is 'Beyond the Roots'? Arranged to coincide with the celebration of Nelson Mandela Day in South Africa, the commemoration of a decade of making an impact in countries all across Africa is the theme of the day. When we set about to create a cross-continental event, we wanted it to match our ethos of sustainability and long-term impact. Having projects that are sustainable means they will continue to have a positive influence in a community (or to a family or group or institution) over the long-term. By creating initiatives that are sustainable, African Impact ensures the impact volunteers make is one that carries on and is passed down over many years. And so we decided to include the creation and maintenance of community gardens as a commemoration of our birthday. Gardens and the knowledge of creating a sustainable source of food and income is a perfectly simple, eloquent and profound activity that embodies the large body of work all our projects are responsible for across Africa.
When is it happening? Ten projects from Kenya to South Africa are participating in this initiative, all on July 18th. Each one will be building or working in gardens that are sources of income or subsistence agriculture for community groups or schools and will impact hundreds of at-risk individuals. July 18th is also a very important day, both for our projects in South Africa and for the international community. The day marks the first commemoration of former President Nelson Mandela's birthday since his passing last December. While alive, Mandela encouraged the public to spend 67 hours on July 18th doing service in their communities in honour of the 67 years Mandela spent fighting for freedom for all in South Africa. This 67 minutes or more of service in the Beyond the Roots gardens will go so much further than July 18th. Not only will volunteers continue to work in most of the gardens long after July 18th, these plots of land will also have an impact for the people and communities served by continuing to provide fruits and vegetables for years to come. How can you get involved? Follow our Facebook, Twitter and blog over the course of the next month, as we build up to July 18th and our Beyond the Roots initiative. We’ll be sharing stories of the individuals and communities we’re impacting on the day, and giving you a peek inside the lives of our volunteers and staff on this special day through photos and videos. It’s also not too late to book on one of these ten projects and make a substantial impact on just one day while being a part of our birthday celebrations! There's still plenty of time to book to volunteer with us during this exciting 'Beyond the Roots' initiative. You could be on the ground, on location as we create one of the 10 garden plots! Potential volunteers are still able to book on the following projects: Teaching and Community Project, Kenya Award-winning Education and Community project in Moshi, Tanzania HIV, Orphan Care and Teaching Project at Antelope Park, Zimbabwe Over 30's Preschool Teaching and Community Development Project in Cape Town Healthcare and Community Development Project in Livingstone, Zambia Over 30's Rural Preschool and Community Project in South Africa Chimpanzee and Wildlife Orphan Care Project at Chimfunshi Wildlife Sanctuary in Zambia Teaching and Community Project in Zanzibar, Tanzania To find out more about Beyond the Roots, check out our very special news desk update: