Nelson Mandela turned 95 today (Thursday), and as part of International Nelson Mandela day, people in Syracuse are joining a worldwide effort to serve their fellow man. One group of local Bhutanese refugees are using this day to make a difference.
Madhu Neupane has called Syracuse home for three years. He and several other Bhutanese refugees were eager to contribute to the city today in honor of a man who gave his whole life to helping others.
“As a whole, he is a symbol of peace to the world. And just to contribute his sense of peacefulness, we have participated here just to do some work, something good.”
The Bhutanese refugees were tending an urban garden in the city, which is part of the Atlantic States Legal Foundation’s effort to provide methods of self-sustainability to people in Syracuse. These urban gardens would allow people to plant and farm their own crops. The Foundation’s environmental coordinator Paul Harris says today’s garden work was symbolic of the service Mandela gave.
“The whole point is to demonstrate service. He’s someone who gave 67 years of his life to service. So symbolically, people around the world and organizations are asked to dedicate 67 minutes to doing that and that’s what we did here today.”
Mandela spent his birthday in the hospital, where he is still recovering from a lung infection.