Cape Town - The Proteas teamed up with the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) to spread some “Madiba Magic” amongst young cricket fans in Chittagong.
The youngsters, all born with life-limiting conditions, were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of spending the afternoon with the Proteas in celebration of Mandela Day.
Mandela Day is a day set aside annually to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, and all South Africans and citizens of the world are encouraged to make acts of kindness to help change the world for the better.
Proteas assistant coach, Adrian Birrell, and one of the drivers of team culture within the environment, says humility and compassion - keys traits of the former president- are the founding qualities the Proteas live by.
“We knew that back home most South Africans would be spending 67 minutes doing good deeds in Nelson Mandela’s memory and we felt we wanted to share that Madiba legacy with the people of Chittagong,” he said. “The Proteas are all about higher purpose and we felt it would be a great opportunity to give back to the community and to contribute towards a worthwhile cause,” commented Birrell.
“A tour can get tedious between moving from the hotel, training and playing so it was nice to do something fun and different. These children are suffering from terminal illness, it’s tragic for them and their families. It was humbling to see the excitement and smiles on their faces, hopefully that makes some kind of difference to their lives. Hopefully they forgot about their plight in these few minutes that they were with us signing autographs and interacting with the players.
“I think the most important thing for us was to bring smiles to their faces by spreading some Madiba magic to those less fortunate than us. We tried to share a little bit of what the Proteas stand for and gave an unconditional act of kindness. I think it’s important for all South Africans to give where we can, if we can all do a little bit it can go a long way.”
Speaking of the work the ICPCN does, media and marketing officer, Lorne Sithole, said: “The ICPCN’s mission is to achieve the best quality of life and care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions, a critical necessity especially in an impoverished country like Bangladesh. It is a dream come true for many of the children here from the Chittagong Medical Hospital. Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world and access to medical care, information and resources is limited. We hope this day will at least have given these brave children something to smile about.”
The Proteas’ two-Test series against Bangladesh starts on Tuesday.