Johannesburg: In a sporting gesture, the South African cricket team interacted with young patients at a hospital in Bangladesh on International Nelson Mandela Day during their ongoing tour of the country.
The programme was organised by International Children's Palliative Care Network (ICPCN).
The youngsters from Chittagong Medical Hospital, 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, the Cricket South Africa said in a statement on Sunday.
Mandela Day which was established in 2009 is a day set annually to celebrate Nelson Mandela's humanitarian legacy and recognise the decades he spent fighting apartheid.
Humility and compassion - keys traits of the former president- are the founding qualities the Proteas live by, Proteas’ assistant coach, Adrian Birrell said.
"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," Birrell 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," he added.
"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, the assistant coach said.
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," he added....