Make Kindness Great Again
26 Jul 2017 | Asha Lalai
What an adventure!
On Saturday 1st July in Rotterdam, Netherlands, we launched the
first Make Kindness Great Again day. It was a
day I will never forget and gave all of us so much energy. In fact
I hope we can experience it many more times in the future too.
The concept behind 'Make Kindness Great Again' is simple: people
choose to perform an act of kindness and then invite others to do
something kind too. Or put more simply: share kindness and inspire
others to do the same.
To help spread the idea we gave out cards with our message:
Make Kindness Great Again is one of the 20 happiness
interventions we've created so far with Action for
As well as working on policies to promote happiness, we want to
see local communities and municipalities promoting these kinds of
happiness interventions. This is a practical way to strengthen
social connections and boost community wellbeing. At Central
Station in Rotterdam, we showed how a happier and kinder world is
Loubna Zarrou said: "It can be as simple as a smile or a hug and
you can make someone's day". And Henk Koster said: "This is exactly
what we need. It is concrete and accessible". Taking concrete
action to make ourselves and others happier is exactly what we
stand for at AfH Netherlands.
Kindness works. That's what I experienced in Rotterdam. It was a
beautiful day thanks to so many generous volunteers who made a
difference by sharing compliments, giving flowers to strangers,
taking time to really notice people and having spontaneous
conversations. Very soon we could see lots of smiles on people's
One of the heroes of the day was Irene Bekker, a police officer
in Rotterdam and co-chairman of 'Roze in Blauw' (LGBT network
within the police). She shared the most acts of kindness and she
loved the whole experience.
Irene said: "Anyone can share kindness. It's not difficult to
give a compliment or be nice to others."
And she's right, it is easy! For example, I asked my local
florist and he kindly donated some flowers I could give away to
Then my daughter and I collected up lots of toys she doesn't
play with anymore, to give to children who passed us by at the
station. This was such a wonderful experience. She was able to see
kids' happy faces with her toys - you can imagine her joy and
Kindness connects. And we could feel that connection in our
group of volunteers from 80 different cultures. Thanks to Amina Ali
Hussen of 'Krachtvrouwen Oude Westen', 100 beautiful women dressed
in self-made African clothes accompanied us to the station and that
attracted a lot of attention. What a power these women have!
I am grateful that so many people had the chance to experience
this day and that they left feeling inspired to strengthen their
own purpose and to do more to spread happiness - for themselves and
others. I could talk for hours and hours about what happened.
It was a rainy day, but I have to say I didn't really notice the
rain. And I was so surprised and happy when 300 people stood hand
in hand facing each other in silence at the station for 2 minutes.
It was a goosebumps moment!
Another memorable part was having the chance to talk to the
mayor of Rotterdam about our Action for Happiness mission. I gave
him our 'Make Kindness Great Again' button and offered him a
session about the Exploring
What Matters course too.
I am not a big fan of hugging strangers, so I told everybody
that I wouldn't. But the funny thing is, on this special day I
hugged more strangers than ever. It was spontaneous and I enjoyed
it. And I loved the fact that so many people volunteered!
Make Kindness Great Again
You can find details about the next Make Kindness Great Again day
on our website.
If you'd like to organise a day yourself, please contact me at
email@example.com and I will
send you more information on what's involved.
So let's all share a little more kindness with the people we meet
today and tomorrow. Together we can help to make kindness great
again and create a happier world for everyone.
I wish lots of happiness for you and all the people around you
Asha Lalai is the Founder and Director of Action for