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Make Kindness Great Again

26 Jul 2017 | Asha Lalai

Afhnl 1

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:

Afhnl Card 1 Afhnl Card 2

Make Kindness Great Again is one of the 20 happiness interventions we've created so far with Action for Happiness Netherlands.

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 really possible.

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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

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 faces.

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."

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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 others.

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 pride!


Kindness connects

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!

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Goosebumps moment

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!

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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!

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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 sayhello@actionforhappiness.nl 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 too.

 

Af H Nederland Example

Asha Lalai is the Founder and Director of Action for Happiness Nederland
www.actionforhappiness.nl

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