Address by President Nelson Mandela at the conclusion of the Miracles for Kids fundraising initiative for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (NMCF)

26 April 1996

Mr Gerry Nocker - Vice President of Colgate Palmolive
Ladies and Gentlemen of the business community and the media who were involved in the Miracle For Kids initiative
Fellow Trustees
Ladies and Gentlemen

Today marks yet another special milestone in the evolution of the Children's Fund.

It also celebrates the conclusion of an innovative and inspiring fundraising initiative.

Innovative and inspiring because, it was designed to enable all South Africans to generate funds for the NMCF by giving of their time and energy to complete the Miracle For Kids gameboards. In playing the game they generated funds to be paid to us by Colgate Palmolive.

The initiative was underpinned by Colgate also providing money to the Fund from products delivered to stores during the Miracle For Kids campaign.

As you have seen from the size of the initial cheque presented to me this evening - the initiative has been a great success. It also has balanced our books in the sense that South African contributions to the Children's Fund exceed those given to us from overseas.

This success has been ensured by the dedication and commitment of the people of Colgate-Palmolive and the thousands of people manning over 2000 stores throughout the country. The people in the media have played their part by informing South Africans of how the campaign was progressing.

The result is that, as at 14 April, 208 000 people from all walks of life have participated in helping to endow the Children's Fund with greatly needed financial resources to enable it to do its work effectively.

I understand that gameboards are still coming in and Colgate Palmolive have undertaken to include these in the final figures, even though the closing date has passed. They estimate that the final sum to be given to the Children's Fund could be R2.75 million.

By coincidence, this amount of R2.75 million is also the amount that the Children's Fund has distributed in 158 separate grants to youth empowerment projects throughout our land in the last 11 months!

All our grants focus on providing youth in need with the means to open the doors of opportunity that were previously denied to them. They help prepare our young people to play a role in the reconstruction and development of our country. Lasting improvement, not only immediate relief, is our guiding objective.

Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, the needs which have to be addressed are very great indeed. The number of young people who live under seriously deprived socio-economic circumstances in our country is shockingly high.

Youth unemployment, homelessness, lack of adequate education because of poor past schooling, disadvantaged disabled with no equipment aids and no caring institution to look after them - all these can be measured in millions.

As many of you know it was to lend urgency to the task of focusing on the dire needs of our children that I launched the Children's Fund. The response in the first full year of the Fund's operation which ended on 31 March 1996, has convinced me that the sense of urgency is widely shared.

I am particularly grateful to the private sector corporations and individuals, who have generously responded to our call, both by becoming, members of de NMCF President's Club and through fundraising initiatives such as the one we are celebrating tonight.

To Colgate Palmolive and to all of you here tonight and at the simultaneous celebrations in Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein - to every single South African who has taken the trouble to become involved with our Children's Fund and, on behalf of the young people of South Africa whose need and whose promise is our driving force, may I express my sincere and heartfelt thanks.

You are giving momentum to a process that will draw in many more - individuals, corporates and aid agencies both South African and international.

You are sending a powerful message to Government, the Private Sector, Labour, and our Communities, that the plight of our young people and their future should receive the nation's urgent attention.

Above all, you are setting an example which will help ensure the happiness and welfare of our children - and strengthen the foundations on which our future is being built.

I thank you.

Source: South African Government Information Website