Tuesday 26 September 2017

Letters: Mandela's legacy of caring for others

A woman walks past portraits of former South African President Nelson Mandela at the end of a memorial service in the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu
A woman walks past portraits of former South African President Nelson Mandela at the end of a memorial service in the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu

* I recently heard in one of the many tributes that have been paid to Nelson Mandela that he was very impressed with the Irish people who travelled to South Africa and volunteered with the Niall Mellon Housing Project. He recognised the sacrifice these people made in travelling thousands of miles to help people they didn't know.

At yesterday's special memorial service in Soweto attended by 90 world leaders, US President Barack Obama spoke about Mandela's understanding of the ties that bind the human spirit, "his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye, that there is a oneness to humanity, that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us".

These characteristics of empathy and willingness to give have traditionally been strong points in us Irish. In the World Giving Index 2012, Ireland was named the most charitable country in Europe for the second year running and the second most charitable in the world after Australia.

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