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A hospital, a school and a dedicated friendship

| April 10, 2017 | 0 Comments


Brescia House School in Johannesburg, Gauteng, first started its involvement with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) in February 2013, after hearing about the “For Kids, By Kids” project.1

The Brescia House High School Serviam Committee came up with the idea of hosting regular pupil-run cake sales, and all proceeds were donated to the NMCH. Popular local musician ProVerb came to a high school assembly to thank students for getting involved with the project and encouraged them to continue in their efforts. The cake sales have been run six times every year since then, creating a growing awareness of the NMCH among the pupil body. In 2014, the girls were surprised when music group Mi Casa arrived and participated in one of their cake sales. This got the girls even more excited to support the project.

Brescia helped break ground

On 20 March 2014, the head girl and head of the Serviam committee were invited to attend the official ground-breaking ceremony of the NMCH, held at the proposed hospital site in Parktown, Johannesburg, to mark the beginning of the journey towards the realisation of Nelson Mandela’s vision for children on the African continent and the world.

Continued support

The Brescia head girl was also invited to participate in the telethon that was broadcast on national television in December 2014.2 In 2015, as an acknowledgement of the school’s continued support of the NMCH Trust (NMCHT), the Serviam committee was invited to participate in a NMCHT-run junior press engagement, as well as on two site visits of the fast-growing medical complex.

Crucial conversations

In June 2016, two Brescia House High School Serviam committee members, Angelica Iacovitti and Christina Seuffert, attended the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund’s Conversations for Development.3 The topic for this event was “The South Africa I would like to live in – #ThinkChange”. Iacovitti was one of four keynote speakers and delivered a thought-provoking piece.

The idea behind this event was for people to connect, inspire, influence, empathise, energise, organise and motivate through constructive conversations. Such dialogues are the major forum where we learn together, solve problems, talk over issues, influence others, make decisions and build relationships so we can take action.

Influencers from various sectors such as corporate, media, religious organisations and government joined and contributed to the open conversation that was held on 15 June, ahead of Youth Day.4 Part of the Conversations for Development discussion was about identifying various actions and assessing if they are building or breaking the country. It was also meant to motivate others to ask themselves what their responsibility is towards building a South Africa that they can live in. This was a wonderful way to commemorate Youth Month and remind leaders that the voices and opinions of the youth are important in shaping a country they will later inherit.

Official hospital opening a privilege to attend

On 2 December 2016, the Brescia head girls and Serviam committee attended the official opening of the hospital. The school commissioned a beaded version of the NMCH logo from the local street bead vendors to present as a gift to the hospital in commemoration of its opening. Brescia House School head girl for 2017, Tadiwanashe Mutambara, proudly handed over the gift to Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO of the NMCH. It was a very moving event, with dignitaries from around the world joining the celebration. At the end of the celebration, Mutambara assisted Graça Machel, Mandela’s widow, in the unveiling of the hospital plaque. Brescia House is officially the longest-standing school supporter of the NMCHT “For Kids, By Kids” Project, and we are proud to be included as friends of the NMCH. 

Helga Bishop is marketing manager at Brescia House School.

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Category: Autumn 2017

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