MTN has donated R500,000 to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, after its successful Share Kindness campaign that ran over October for World Mental Health month.
At a time when the stress of long-term isolation and sustained anxiety is seriously impacting mental health across the globe, MTN’s Share Kindness campaign aimed to raise awareness and funds for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). Following the trend of a social movement that has had an impact around the world, The Kindness Rocks Project, MTN had distributed over 4000 rock painting kits to MTN customers, employees, mental health counsellors, support group leaders, social influencers, and the media.
The concept behind the project was to help South Africans to reconnect, by tapping into their creative side, painting a little rock with an inspirational message, and leaving the rock in a public place like a park, school or walking trail to surprise and inspire a random stranger and bring a little brightness into their day.
The response on social media was incredible. Aside from posts by influencers like Hulisani Ravele, Rachel Xolisi and Letshego Zulu, hundreds of others joined in and placed painted yellow pebbles, with messages of encouragement, in public places all over SA. “For every stone photographed and posted to social media using #ItsGoTime and tagging @MTNza, we added to the donation for SADAG, accumulating an astounding R500,000” says Jacqui O’Sullivan, MTN SA’s Executive for Corporate Affairs.
“These random acts of kindness have not only uplifted spirits, but through this donation to SADAG has also had a long-term impact in helping support people with anxiety, depression and those suffering from the trauma of the ongoing losses sustained through the COVID-19 pandemic. says O’Sullivan.
“We have all been touched by the impact of COVID-19 in one way or another in the last 18 months and this campaign is a lovely way to help us rebuild a sense of community and connection.”
“We have already seen the ripple effect that these little Y’ello pebbles have had as we intentionally chose small business suppliers to help us create the boxes. A new online gift business has been given the opportunity to get off the ground, create security for their small team of employees and employ eight more people who had been retrenched or unemployed through COVID-19. We have also seen art supplies wholesalers reignited with their first substantial sales since March last year and a stationery factory has restarted their production line after months of dormancy, to produce the marker pens in our kits,” explains O’Sullivan.
“Our volunteers deal with thousands of calls every day from South Africans of all races and backgrounds and we offer free telephone counselling to them in all official languages. The donation from MTN will go a long way to helping cover the costs of our call centre infrastructure, says Cassey Chambers, director of SADAG, “we are also using the rock kits as a means of giving our counsellors, community members, and clients a mindful way to cope with stress and anxiety at our counselling centres in Rivonia, and our community counselling containers in Diepsloot and Ivory Park.”.
Thousands of free kits have been placed in selected flagship MTN stores across the country for MTN customers and can also be ordered online at cost.
“I’d like to thank South Africans for joining us in sharing a little sunshine and kindness. I hope that we all will continue to find ways to inspire, support and provide hope to those most in need. It is only through caring for each other and driving positive change that we will truly turn the corner to a brighter future,” O’Sullivan concludes.