On 20 February, the United Nations observes World Social Justice Day. This day serves to acknowledge the ongoing efforts of countries, organisations and individuals who strive to uphold and enforce the principles of social justice. The world and indeed South Africa still face rights injustices, gender inequality, racism, homophobia, xenophobia and other intolerances, but these organisations are working together to bring about sustainable and effective change to the lives of South Africa’s most vulnerable citizens.

1. 18twenty8

18twenty8 is a women-led non-profit organisation that seeks to empower women from disadvantaged backgrounds. The organisation focuses on young women between the ages of 18 and 28 and aims to create a platform for them to pursue education, which according to the organisation is the most powerful tool to have. 18twenty8 has won notable awards for its ongoing work, including the Inyathelo Philanthropy Award and the Elizabeth Arden Make A Difference Award.

2. Mosaic

Mosaic was formed more than 25 years ago in response to the growing violence against women in South Africa. Today, the situation is as dire as ever, and the organisation serves as a place of training and healing to those that need it most. By equipping women with the necessary knowledge of their rights and resources, Mosaic along with its many partners are bringing about real change for countless women.

3. Social Justice Coalition

Tackling issues like sanitation, justice, service-delivery and other essential parts of human life, the Social Justice Coalition has played an active and invaluable role in establishing social justice in South Africa since its establishment in 2008.

4. Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation has committed itself to social justice and the welfare and dignity of humans for over eight decades. Today the foundation tackles some of the most important contemporary issues in South Africa today, including access to the internet and raising the status of the arts in South Africa.

5. The Dullah Omar Foundation

The foundation strives to improve the lives of people most affected by poverty. It grants bursaries to children from disadvantaged backgrounds and also runs a Poverty Relief and  Nutrition Programme. The Dullah Omar Foundation strives to continue the work that defined the legendary man, by serving poor communities and keeping their dignity in tact.

6. Legal Resources Centre

Working throughout South Africa and often with other social justice organisations, the Legal Resources Centre seeks social justice by using the Constitution as a platform to bring about change in the lives of those that need it most, including people discriminated against due to race, gender, disabilities or historical circumstances.

7. The Motsepe Foundation

By backing medical research in fields like HIV/Aids and cancer, as well as creating funds to develop sustainable projects, the Motsepe Foundation is bringing practical solutions to issues that have been plaguing South Africa and the rest of the continent for too long. The Motsepe family, the driving force behind the foundation, have long been committed to other important issues in the country like education and elevating the arts.

As many of our country’s people still face the anxiety and fear caused by gender and racial inequality, rampant poverty and deep-rooted discrimination in many forms, it’s important to observe and a celebrate a day like today by being aware of and supporting the people and organisations that help, protect, empower and strengthen people.