As we reach the culmination of The Elders’ #WalkTogether campaign, Virgin Unite are celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, his legacy and the founding of The Elders. 

The #WalkTogether campaign has built a bright web made up of 'Sparks of Hope' – communities building a movement for the freedoms Mandela dedicated his life to: peace, health, justice and equality.

Virgin CEOs and staff members from all over the world have written about their own Sparks of Hope and for the next month we invite you to read their stories and join the global #WalkTogether movement.

Below is Michael Klindt's Spark of Hope story. Michael Klindt is the CEO Virgin Mobile South Africa

I strongly believe in equality among all people. Helping the less fortunate lies very close to my heart. I have always been a big admirer of Nelson Mandela and how he sacrificed his life for the rights of others. 

One of the first things I did when joining Virgin Mobile South Africa as CEO and moving to this beautiful country was visit Robben Island and to show my respect towards Mr. Mandela. It was there that I read about the hardship Mandela and his fellow inmates underwent in order to strive for equality and freedom.

I regularly feel that the days don’t have enough hours in them, but still I try to contribute in whichever ways I can. I’m proud to support organisations that work for the freedoms that Nelson Mandela once did: peace, health, justice and equality. The more I learn about these organisations, the way they carry out their work, and the way they spend their funds the more I want them to succeed. 

Below is a short list of organisations that I’d like you all readers of the Virgin blog to learn a little more about.

  • Action Aid South Africa (AASA) - ASAA focus on people who others have forgotten - people in poverty, people who face discrimination, people whose voices are ignored. They help people fight for their human rights including their right to eat, to live peacefully on their land and their right to an education. ASAA is not about giving handouts from the monies contributed to them, but about enabling people to help them find their own solutions & offering support.
  • Plan International - I sponsor through Plan Intenrational. My monthly contributions assist with basic requirements such as education and general monthly living expenses. I regularly receive feedback from the organisation about my child's progress and get great joy out of seeing the child grow and develop with the correct support structures. 
  • UNICEF - I contribute annually to UNICEF as they provide humanitarian and progressive assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. UNICEF was created to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination places in a child’s path. The objective is believing in every child’s right to protection, health and education so they can grow up strong and free – something I believe Mr. Nelson Mandela also fought for in South Africa and its people in general.
  • I am a SMS donor at Doctors without Borders - they support where and whenever needed, Recently their work has included  response to the Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo,  the Syrian refugee crisis as well as the disasters inYemen and Myanmar.

These organisatoiuns don’t always support the plights in South Africa specifically, but for me it's important to also support organisations that fighting for global justice, peace, health and equality.I hope to be able to continue supporting these organisations and causes for many years to come, as I believe my contributions assist in uplifting those less fortunate than myself.

Virgin Unite, #WalkTogether, The Elders

Michael Klindt is the CEO Virgin Mobile South Africa